Sadako is the twelve-year-old Hiroshima girl who died in 1955 of leukemia, ""the atomic bomb disease,"" and is remembered today by the Japanese children who place folded paper cranes beneath her statue on Peace Day, the anniversary of the bomb. Aided by Sadako's letters, Coerr recreates the last year of her life, introducing the little girl as a high-spirited fast runner chosen to represent her class in the big relay race on Field Day. Then running begins to make her dizzy, and the rest occurs in the hospital where she sets out to fold 1,000 paper cranes--an achievement which, according to legend, will induce the gods to make a sick person well. Sadako folds 644 cranes, then Coerr has her die watching them as they seem to fly above her hospital bed. Coerr's stale fictionalization (Sadako ""rushes like the wind"" when well, is later visited by ""a steady stream of relatives"") makes Sadako's experience less moving than it could be, and Himler's fluttery black and white illsutrations, though they do offset the heaviness of the prose, axe a bit excessive in their emotionalism. However, neither destroys the story's obvious affective potential.