Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

In 1954, 11-year-old Sadako Sasaki lives in Japan with her family. Sadako is a talented runner and hopes to qualify for the junior high team the following year. She begins having dizzy spells after her long runs but is afraid to mention them to her family. One day she collapses at school. Her father takes her to the hospital, where the doctor tells her she has leukemia.

Leukemia, also called the atom bomb disease, is not uncommon in Sadako’s area. Although the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima almost a decade earlier, its poisonous radiation still fills the air. Sadako knows many who enter the hospital with leukemia never return home.

Sadako’s friend Chizuko cheers her up by folding a crane out of gold paper. Chizuko reminds her of an old legend: If a sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes, the gods will make her well. Sadako is inspired. Once Chizuko teaches her to make the cranes, Sadako works on creating a flock. Her brother helps her hang each bird from the ceiling of her hospital room.

As months pass, Sadako’s energy waxes and wanes. She meets a boy younger than herself in the hospital and later learns he has died of leukemia. She never gives up hope for her own healing and continues folding cranes.

In July of 1955, Sadako shows some improvement and is allowed to return home. Her condition quickly worsens and she’s readmitted to the hospital for intense treatments. She models a kimono her mother makes her and finishes 644 cranes before her weakness overpowers her. With family at her bedside and her cranes flying overhead, Sadako dies on Oct. 25, 1955 at age 12.

Sadako’s classmates fold the remaining 356 cranes so she can be buried with 1,000 birds. One class collects and reprints Sadako’s letters and journal, and soon, all of Japan knows her story. A few years later in a Hiroshima peace park, a statue is erected in her honor.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Sadako and her Japanese family hold many beliefs, ceremonies and traditions surrounding luck and the spirits of the dead. Buddhist priests play a role in a city memorial ceremony. Sadako hopes the city’s temple bells will ring out the evils of the past year. Father prays for the spirits of their ancestors and for protection from the atom bomb’s radiation. Sadako hangs her hopes on a proverb that says the gods will give health to a sick person who folds 1,000 paper cranes. She feels the birds are good omens.

Authority Roles

Sadako’s loving, supportive parents try to put on brave faces as they watch their daughter’s illness worsen. A doctor and nurse at the hospital compassionately treat and encourage Sadako.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12 years


Eleanor Coerr






Record Label



G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers


On Video

Year Published



Western Australia Children’s Book Award, 1981; and others


We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!