American author publishes picture book on exchange of paper cranes, writing other book on story of Sadako Sasaki

by Shinji Morito, Staff Writer

Sue DiCicco, 58, a children’s book author based in California, has published a picture book in the United States and Japan about a project in which children around the world exchanged origami paper cranes. Ms. DiCicco is also coauthoring a book about Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who died of leukemia induced by the radiation released from the atomic bomb. Before she died, Sadako folded paper cranes in the hope that this would help her recover from her illness. Ms. DiCicco said that, through her work, she hopes to convey Hiroshima’s wish for peace to the world.

In 2013, Ms. DiCicco launched the Peace Crane Project, calling on elementary school and junior high school students from around the world to fold cranes and exchange them with other children. Individuals and groups can exchange origami cranes through the Peace Crane Project website: https://peacecraneproject.org. To date, about 2 million people from more than 150 countries have joined this effort.

Her book Origami PEACE CRANES was published this past September. The story is about a girl who feels anxious about moving to a new school, but is able to build new friendships by exchanging paper cranes with other students. Ms. DiCicco hopes that Japanese children will read the book and recognize anew that the paper crane has become a symbol of peace across the world.

Ms. DiCicco has worked as a Disney animator and published around 20 picture books about art and friendship. In the wake of a school shooting in 2012 at an elementary school in the United States, where the 26 victims included many children, she began the Peace Crane Project to nurture a desire for peace in children through the exchange of paper cranes, as folding paper cranes is easy even for kids.

Ms. DiCicco is now writing a book on Sadako with Sadako’s brother, Masahiro Sasaki, 76. She hopes that the book will be published by August 6 of next year. The book will be in English and geared to elementary school and junior high school students. Ms. DiCicco came to Hiroshima this past July and visited Noboricho Elementary School, the school in downtown Hiroshima that Sadako once attended. She also toured the Peace Memorial Museum. She hopes to convey the true story of Sadako and her paper cranes and link children around the world through the desire for peace.

Published by Charles E. Tuttle Publishing, a publisher in Tokyo, the picture book Origami PEACE CRANES is priced at 1,512 yen.

(Originally published on November 16, 2017)