The Better World Kids for a Nuclear-Free World
Hiroshima Day
A Better World Kids Calendar Book
by Robert Alan Silverstein
Illustrated by Vineet Siddhartha

Share Button

Chapter 1: Meeting in Cyberspace

Michiko was very excited about this week's meeting of the Better World Team. After all, she was finally going to get to show her city to her friends. She wished it weren't for such a somber occasion, though.

Michiko looked at her watch and saw that she was already late. Taking a deep breath, she typed in the Better World Team web address. Suddenly she found herself magically transported into Cyberspace, where her friends were already waiting.

"Michiko!" they exclaimed, relieved that she'd finally arrived in the misty, multi-colored Cyberland they visited each week. Michiko hesitated just a moment, enjoying the mysteriously magical feeling. After dozens of Cyber-adventures, she thought she'd be used to it all by now, but every time they somehow materialized together, it felt just as amazing as the very first time. With an excited giggle, she ran to her friends.

After they'd hugged each other, Ahmed, the Club Secretary, typed a few keys on his laptop and declared, "The Hiroshima Day meeting of the Better World Team is officially called to order."

"Did everyone get a chance to make peace cranes this week?" Michiko asked.

The Kids showed her the brightly colored origami paper cranes they'd made, following the pattern in the PDF-file she'd emailed everyone.

"It was really hard…" José declared. "But I made a million of them!" he insisted.

"No way, José!" the Kids exclaimed together.

"OK," José smiled. "But I did make 8…"

"And they look great, José!" Erin assured him.

"Yes, everyone did a great job!" Michiko told them.

"But what do these paper cranes have to do with Hiroshima Day?" Sunanda asked, and all of the other Kids had the same question on their mind.

"You'll see when we get there…" Michiko said. Then she handed Ahmed a piece of paper. "Here's the web address," she said softly.

Ahmed typed it onto the laptop, and they found themselves whooshing through the hyperlink to their destination.


Chapter 2: Peace Memorial Park

The Cyberhaze dissolved, and the Kids found themselves standing in the center of a large park with lots of statues and monuments and fountains and flowers and buildings.

"Welcome to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park!" Michiko said proudly. "I came here a couple years ago for a class trip," she said, looking around. "Every year more than a million people visit. Not just school field trips like mine from all over Japan, but tourists from all around the world."

"I wonder if anyone else has visited by hopping a ride on a hyperlink through Cyberspace?" Ahmed said matter-of-factly.

The Kids all laughed, but he was serious. He stayed up nights sometimes wondering if there's was the only Better World Team that traveled this way.

The Kids were in awe; there was a lot to take in! The first thing that caught their attention was an eerie domed skeleton-of-a-building in the distance.

"That's the A-Bomb Dome," Michiko said softly. "It was near the place where the bomb hit the ground … they've left it how it was to show the devastation that happened to the city after the atomic bomb fell."

The Kids were standing in front of a large concrete arch-shaped monument, through which they were gazing at the domed building in the distance. "This is the Memorial Cenotaph," Michiko explained pointing at the base of the arch where flowers lined the top of another structure.

"What's a cen-o-taph?" Ling asked.

"It's an empty tomb. It holds the names of all the people who died after the bomb fell."

"There must be a lot names in there," Johnny said softly, remembering what he'd learned in school about World War II.

Michiko looked sadly at the ground. "Yes, the A-bomb fell on August 6, 1945 killing 40 to 80,000 people that day… And by the end of the year about 140,000 men, women and children had died from the bomb's effects."

"And three days later, the other nuclear bomb that fell on Nagasaki killed 60 to 80,000 people…" Erin added sadly, remembering what she'd read at school.

Some of the Kids were no strangers to the horrors of war, like Jamal whose country had been fighting a civil war for as long as he could remember. But this was different, somehow. ONE bomb had killed SO MANY people and caused so much pain and suffering!

"What's that?" Sunanda asked after a moment of quiet, pointing to a flame that was also visible through the opening of the arched monument.

"That's the Peace Flame," Michiko said as she looked up and saw where her friend was pointing. "It has been burning continuously since 1964, and it will keep going until there are no more nuclear weapons on the planet."

All the Better World Kids thought that the world would be a much better place when that happened!

"They should call this water encircling the Memorial a Pond of Peace …" Sunanda thought out loud as the Kids quietly continued to think about all they were seeing around them.

Michiko laughed a little. "Actually that's exactly what it is called!"

"Uh, guys …" Erin gasped, when she suddenly noticed there were people standing all around them. "What's going on?" The rest of the Kids chimed the same question an instant later.

"It must be 8 o'clock," Michiko whispered. "August 6 is A-Bomb Day in Japan, and each year there is a very special ceremony here at the Peace Park." Michiko pointed towards the front by the Memorial Cenotaph. "That's the Mayor of our city of Hiroshima," she said proudly. "And that's the Prime Minister of Japan!"

"We'd better take a seat," Ahmed said pointing to a bunch of empty chairs. "It looks like they're about to start."

The Kids watched and listened attentively during the ceremony. At 8:15 am, which they heard was the time when the bomb fell, there was a moment of silence for the victims and for peace on earth. Then it was time to ring the special Peace Bell that is only rung on this day each year. Someone representing the families that had lost loved ones rang it first. Then a child was supposed to be chosen to represent the children of the world. The Kids couldn't believe it when Michiko was chosen as the kid to ring the special Peace Bell!

After that there were speeches and songs and then peace doves were released into the air.

When the doves had become just tiny specks in the blue sky, the Kids realized the crowd had disappeared and they were standing in a different part of the Park. They weren't surprised at all. By now, they knew to expect the unexpected on their Better World Team adventures.

Now they were standing in front of a line of six towering 16-foot tall metal gates.

"Hey!" Sunanda exclaimed pointing up at one of the gates. "That says 'peace' in Hindi!"

"It says 'peace' in Arabic over here!" Ahmed called out, pointing up at another gate further down the line.

"Here it is in Hebrew…" Sol laughed.

Michiko smiled. "The Peace Gates have the word 'peace' inscribed in 49 different languages!" she told them.

Then Maya spotted a large bell nearby and it reminded her about the ceremony. "It must have been nice to ring the Peace Bell, Michiko" she said wistfully.

Michiko smiled proudly at the memory, then saw where Maya was looking. "That's another Peace Bell here in the Park," she said. "There are three all together. Anyone can ring that one, anytime of year."

As they got closer, the Kids saw that on its surface was a map of the world. All of the Kids wanted to ring out their wish for peace. And so they did, and the Park was filled with loud, melodious gongs of hope.


Chapter 3: Sadako and the Peace Crane

Nearby there was a large monument that looked like a bomb with a girl standing on top with outstretched arms, and a giant golden peace crane rising above her. The Kids were drawn towards it as they listened to the last echoes of the Peace Bell fade away.

"This is the Children's Peace Monument," Michiko told them as they grew closer. "It's my favorite thing in the Park. That girl on top up there represents Sadako. She was two when the bomb fell, and she survived. But she died from radiation poisoning ten years later, when she was 12 … my age…"

"She's why we brought the origami cranes, right?" Maya asked.

"Yes," Michiko told them. "There's a beautiful story about how when Sadako was sick with leukemia in the hospital, she wanted to make a thousand paper cranes…"

"Whoa!" José gasped. "Eight was hard enough … but a thousand … no way!"

"Yep," Michiko insisted. "Sadako had heard about a legend that says if you make a thousand paper cranes, you'll be granted a wish…"

"So it was a way for her to keep hopeful while she was sick?" Ling asked.

"Exactly," Michiko said. "One version of the story says that she'd only made 646 cranes before she died…"

"So her friends made the other 354 cranes!" Erin added, remembering the story she'd read about the paper cranes. (After Michiko had sent the peace crane instructions by email, she'd read all about Sadako and the thousand cranes on Wikipedia.)

"Exactly," Michiko said. "But that's not all they did. The kids at her school wanted to do something huge for Sadako and for all of the children who died because of the atomic bomb. Something that would last forever and continue to inspire people to want to get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world. They decided to raise funds for this monument, and kids from more than 3000 schools all over Japan sent money to help build it."

She pointed at an inscription on the black marble slab at the base of the monument, and translated the Japanese words: "This is our cry, this is our prayer: peace in the world."

This was certainly the wish of all of the Better World Kids, too. "Now, Sadako's story, and making paper cranes, has become a symbol of hope for peace and a nuclear-free world," Michiko concluded. "And people mail paper cranes here to the Peace Park from all around the world," she added, pointing nearby, where the Kids saw thousands of brightly colored paper cranes.

"But we get to hand-deliver ours!" Johnny beamed, and all of the Kids took out their cranes.

"Technically we're cyber-delivering them!" Ahmed corrected, as they walked over together. Each of the Kids quietly said "May peace prevail on earth," as they placed their peace cranes with the others.

The Kids were feeling a little sad, but a lot hopeful. Then Jamal suddenly burst out nervously, "Uh guys… look up there!"

They looked up at Sadako's statue. The golden crane almost looked like it was moving. They blinked again and quickly realized it was moving! The crane rose up off of Sadako's outstretched arms and then dove down straight towards them.

Before the Kids even had a chance to react, the golden peace crane swooped down under them. But the Kids weren't scared at all. Things like this always happened in their adventures, and they knew they were in for some fun.

The Better World Kids held on as the golden crane lifted all ten of them into the air and soared toward a large building.

"Looks like we're heading for the Peace Memorial Museum," Michiko called out over the roar of the wind in their faces and the sounds of their laughter and excited giggles.

Sure enough, the crane circled the large building a few times and then whooshed through the museum doors.

The Kids had, as José quickly pointed out, 'a birds-eye view' of the whole museum. The exhibits and displays showed them all about the city of Hiroshima before and after the bombing, as well the history and current efforts all around the world to abolish nuclear weapons.

Exhibits and displays can share a lot of valuable information, but the Peace Crane had its own ideas about making the experience a little more up-close and personal.


Chapter 4: Nuclear Bombs and Treaties

The Kids were taking in an exhibit about the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty - an agreement, they read, that 190 countries have signed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, which went into effect in 1970. That's when Ahmed noticed something was happening on his laptop. It looked like a website's URL was being typed, but it was all gibberish-characters that didn't make sense. He didn't even have enough time to warn the others, before suddenly the Peace Crane swooped them down into the hyperlink.

The Kids found themselves in a deep, secure underground facility, with thick lined walls and glaring lights casting long eerie shadows. All around there were carefully arranged piles of dismantled bomb-parts.

Ahmed could not figure out exactly where they were, but with a few taps on the keyboard, he was able to decipher some information. "This is one of many secret facilities where dismantled nuclear bombs are stored," he read.

"Uh, shouldn't we have radiation suits on?" Ling asked nervously.

"We're only virtually here," Sunanda reminded her.

"Yeah," Johnny added. "Nuclear radiation can cause widespread damage for a long, long time … but even weapons of mass destruction can't harm us here in Cyberspace!"

"Exactly," Ahmed agreed.

Off to the left there was a long row of empty bomb shells. "They don't really look that big to do so much damage!" Erin remarked.

Ahmed typed a few keys. "From this documentation it looks like the average nuclear bomb is about 2400 pounds - that's about half as big as a car. But a single nuclear bomb can produce as much destructive energy as 1.2 million tons of TNT!"

"Yikes!" all the Kids gasped.

"It also says here," Ahmed continued, "that even though so many nations agreed to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 1970, the number of nuclear weapons in the world continued to increase. At the height of the Cold War in 1985, there were 65,000 active nuclear weapons, ready to be used at a moment's notice!"

The Kids couldn't even imagine how much damage that many weapons could cause.

"Nukes are nuts!" José declared.

The Kids all agreed that José was absolutely right.

"Let's see," Ahmed said as he continued scrolling. "We're doing a little better now towards getting rid of these weapons of mass destruction… Today there are about 4400 active weapons … and another 15,000 or so in storage …"

The Kids thought that was still way too many.

"Which countries have nuclear weapons?" Ling asked.

Ahmed studied the screen a moment. "It looks like Russia and the United States have the most. Russia has 10,000 and the US has 8000…"

"WOW!" everyone gasped.

"The other 'nuclear states' are the UK, France and China," Ahmed continued. "Those were the countries that had nuclear weapons when the NPT was first signed. All of the other countries that signed agreed not to make nuclear weapons, if the original nuclear states worked towards eventually getting rid of all of their weapons, too."

"That sounds like a good plan," Johnny said, and all the Kids agreed.

"Yes, but since then," Ahmed continued reading, "four more countries acquired nuclear weapons…"

"India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel," Sunanda said, reading over his shoulder.

"All those countries sure must have spent a lot of money to keep all those nuclear weapons around…" Erin thought out loud.

Johnny had also come to peek at the laptop. "It says here that the United States alone spends more than 50 billion dollars a year!"

The Kids gasped. "Whoa!" Johnny exclaimed. "According to this, the US has spent 7.5 trillion dollars on nuclear weapons programs since 1940!"

"Think of all the amazing things that could have been done with that money to make the world a better place!" Ling said, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Think of all the starving children that could have been fed..." Maya sighed.

"And shelters for the homeless…" Johnny added.

"And new schools and supplies … no more overcrowded classrooms!" Ling piped in.

"I wonder how many diseases could have been cured with more money for research, not to mention medicine for those who don't have access to healthcare," Jamal wondered.

"I bet with better funding, scientists could help turn back global warLing…" Sol pointed out.

The Kids could think of plenty more things that could have been done with all that money, but Ahmed interrupted their thoughts. "Hey, it looks like the 1970 Treaty was set to expire after 25 years …"

"That would have been in 1995 …" Ling said, adding the numbers quickly in her head.

"Oh my gosh, did the Treaty end?" Jamal gasped.

The Peace Crane began flapping its golden wings, calling them to climb aboard.

"I guess we're going to find out!" Erin sighed gratefully, as she helped give Johnny a boost up onto the Crane. The other Kids quickly clambered aboard with tugs and pushes, too. No one wanted to get left behind here in this nuclear bomb-graveyard.


Chapter 5: For a Nuclear-Free World

An instant later, the Kids found themselves circling high up above the United Nations building in New York City. Then the Peace Crane roller-coastered down and circled the building, finally slowing down and stopping in front of a set of windows. The Kids peeked in and saw that there was a heated debate going on inside.

Ahmed's laptop filled them in on what was happening. "It looks like they had a big four week-long conference in 1995 here at the UN. There were lots of disagreements about what to do about the Treaty…" he sighed.

Then the Kids held on tightly again as the crane circled the UN a few more times, then rocketed past the security guards so quickly that they never saw the crane fly into the building.

The Peace Crane coasted down the winding corridors to another Conference Room in the basement of the UN, where another lively debate was going on.

Again, Ahmed's laptop screen was filled with information. "While leaders were meeting at the UN to discuss the NPT," he read, "NGOs came from all around the world, too…"

"What's an NGO, again?" Johnny asked. He knew he'd heard the term before, but he couldn't remember what it was.

"Non-governmental organizations," Jamal explained. His mother worked for an NGO that was helping to protect families from malaria in his country.

"They're usually nonprofit organizations working to help fix a problem or address some important issue…" Erin added.

"Like convincing governments to get rid of nuclear weapons!" Sunanda exclaimed.

"Exactly," Ahmed continued. "65 NGOs helped draft a statement urging leaders to take more serious steps toward abolishing nuclear weapons. The Abolition Statement they wrote called for the elimination of all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. They also suggested phasing out the use of nuclear energy, and replacing the UN agency responsible for promoting and regulating nuclear power -- the International Atomic Energy Agency -- with an International Renewable Energy Agency. This new agency would promote renewable energy sources instead of nuclear power."

The Kids thought that was an important point to add to the Treaty. On a previous adventure, they'd learned all about renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy. And they'd also learned about the many dangers and risks of nuclear power. Like the possibility of a catastrophic explosion and the release of lots of toxic materials, if there's an accident. And how after all this time, scientists still hadn't figured out what to do with the contaminated and harmful radioactive wastes that are produced!

"This is where Abolition 2000 was started!" Ahmed told them. "By the time this four week conference ended, more than 600 NGOs from all around the world had signed onto the Abolition Statement. Today Abolition 2000 is a network of more than 2000 organizations in over 90 countries!"

Suddenly there was a lot of commotion going on around them. The people were clapping and hugging each other, and there were lots of smiling faces.

"Did the world's leaders at the Conference agree to abolish all nuclear weapons by the year 2000?" Sol asked.

"Wait, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Year 2000 pass already. Like a long time ago?" José piped up.

"Yes, the Year 2000 was a long time ago, José" Ahmed said. "But no, they didn't set a timetable to abolish nuclear weapons. Still, everyone here's happy because the governments just agreed to extend the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty indefinitely, which was an important accomplishment, because for a while there, it didn't seem like leaders could agree on anything!"

"Yeah, but José had a point. You said Abolition 2000 wanted to abolish nuclear weapons by 2000 … so what are they doing now?" Sunanda asked.

"Uh…" Ahmed started, uncertainly. That was a good question. Luckily the laptop screen had the answer. "It looks like they're working with Mayors For Peace now, on the 2020 Vision Campaign to abolish all nuclear weapons by the year 2020…"

As if on cue, the Peace Crane started flapping its wings again, and the Kids knew to climb on board. A URL started typing on Ahmed's laptop, and they were off once again.


Chapter 6: A Roadtrip to Peace

The crane soared high above the clouds and the Kids loved it. Ahmed was a little confused though. "According to the laptop, we're supposed to go to a Mayors For Peace conference back in Japan again…" he mumbled.

That was fine with everyone. "But…?" they inquired, wondering what was worrying Ahmed.

"Well according to google-earth, we're flying over the US," he told them.

"I guess we're talking the long way there … but this is fun. So it's fine with me!" Johnny exclaimed.

"But that sounds like it'll take a long time," Erin sighed. "And I have to be back home for an important Fèis festival this afternoon. All my relatives are coLing to see me dance."

"And I do have a lot of homework I'm supposed to be doing today," Jamal sighed.

The Crane turned to look at them and seemed to tell them not to worry. That's when the Kids remembered that no matter how many things they did and saw on their Adventures, when they got back home, only a moment or two would have actually passed in 'real-time.' The Peace Crane winked, letting them know to hold on, and suddenly they skyrocketed faster and faster. The Kids squealed with delight.

Then suddenly they slowed down and began to descend a little so that the Kids could get a good view of the sights below.

"We're over Independence, Missouri," Ahmed informed them.

"Oh look, there's another Sadako statue!" Michiko called out, as the crane swooped low enough for them to clearly see.

"Yes," Ahmed said as he read from his screen. "That's the United Nations Peace Plaza down there, and a statue of Sadako was dedicated in 1995 for the 50th Anniversary of Hiroshima Day."

They circled a few times and then whooshed on their way once again.

When they slowed down a moment later, Maya suddenly recognized where they were. "Hey guys, we're in New Mexico!" she exclaimed. "That's Santa Fe!"

Ahmed's laptop agreed. "We're about to see a sister statue that some grade-school kids in New Mexico helped create … also for the 50th Anniversary in 1995. These kids were inspired by Sadako's story and wanted to create a sister statue, because New Mexico is the state where the bomb that fell on Hiroshima was built. They held a contest for kids to design the statue, and they got 90,000 children from all 50 US States and 63 countries to chip in to help build the winning design."

"Um, I think I might need glasses," José said, "but does Sadako's 'sister' look like her to you guys?"

Ahmed's laptop, of course, was able to help clear up the confusion. "The winning design," he told them, "was a globe with Earth's continents made of 3000 figurines of plants and animals that were designed by kids in more than 100 countries."

The Kids were impressed and marveled at the intricate details of the globe-statue. But then their crane-guide gave them the nod to hold on, and off they went at top cyber-speed.

In an another instant, the crane set them down in a quiet, peaceful garden. The Kids all turned to Ahmed for their tour-guide information-update, but before he could find anything on his laptop, Ling started reading from a plaque, set in stone. "This is the Sadako Peace Garden at the La Casa de Maria Retreat in Santa Barbara," she read. "It was created by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and La Casa de Maria, also for the 50th Anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima," she told them.

The Kids sat back and sighed, enjoying the quiet, peaceful setting for a moment or two. Then the Peace Crane let them know it was time to set off on the next leg of their trip.

"Uh, it looks like the next stop is the Seattle Peace Park," Ahmed called over the roar of the wind as they sped off. Sure enough, in a flash they were in another peace garden, gazing at a life-sized bronze statue of Sadako with a thousand beautifully-colored paper cranes draped over her shoulder.

When it was time to continue on their journey, they noticed Ahmed looked a bit worried. "What's up, Ahmed?" they asked as they climbed aboard the Crane.

"Well, we're going to be crossing the Pacific Ocean now …" he stammered.

That sounded like fun to the Kids. "Yeah, but, according to the mapquest route," Ahmed said slowly, "we're not flying on this leg of the trip …"

"How else would we get there?" Sunanda asked out-loud the question everyone else was thinking.

"We might want to hold our breaths!" Ahmed warned as they plunged into the ocean and dove under water.

Of course the Kids needn't have worried. This was Cyberspace, after all. The normal laws of the Universe don't apply here, so the Kids didn't have to worry about little things like breathing underwater. Instead they found themselves happily chatting as they took in the many beautiful sights and sounds on their 5000 mile trip beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Before they knew it, they had reached the coast of Japan, and as the crane rose from the water, they found they were barely wet at all. They shook off a few stray droplets of water and noticed they were standing in front of a large room-full of important-looking men and women. They were all staring at the Kids!

"Hey," that's my Mayor!" Johnny gasped pointing at a woman three rows back.

"Mine's here, too!" Erin said a moment later, after spotting a familiar face off to the left.

"And here comes my Mayor," Michiko whispered as the Mayor of Hiroshima walked towards them.

"Welcome back, Better World Kids," he said. "We are so honored to have you join us," he added and bowed to them. They shyly bowed back.

The Mayor of Hiroshima told the kids that the mayors who had come for their conference were only a tiny number of the more than 5000 mayors in 155 countries who were part of Mayors For Peace. Together they were working to show international support for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and were cooperating to establish "lasting world peace through solving problems such as hunger and poverty, refugees, human rights and environmental protection."

"That sounds wonderful," Michiko said for all the Kids. "But what can we do to help?"

The Mayor smiled. "Well, first, we were hoping that you could sign our petition for a nuclear-free world by 2020."

The Kids were more than happy to do so, and they all did so, right then and there.

"We were also hoping," the Mayor beamed, "that you can tell other chapters of Better World Teams to sign our petition online. More than half a million people already have!"

All of the Kids promised to tell all of the Chapters about this wonderful program. And everyone they knew, too.

"I'm also going to tell my Mayor about Mayors For Peace," Sol said. "I just know he'll want to join!"

"I will, too!" Ahmed exclaimed.

"Me three!" José added.

The Kids were really excited. The adventures they loved most were the ones that showed them things that they could do to help. They told the Mayor that they'd love to stay and join them for their Conference, but he pointed at the Peace Crane and said, "We'd be honored, but I think your friend is calling you."

Sure enough, the Peace Crane was silently signaling that their adventure was nearly over. It was time for her to return to her place with Sadako. The Kids politely thanked the Mayors, and in an instant were whisked away on the crane's wings back to the Peace Memorial Park.

It was pretty dark out and the Kids knew their weekly meeting was about to be over. They were really going to miss their new friend. They hugged the Crane and were a little teary eyed as it floated back up into the evening sky to rest above the Sadako-statue's outstretched arms.

"Hey look, she's waving goodbye," Ling said. The crane had turned back into part of the statue, completely inanimate, except for her right wing, which did indeed seem to be waving.

"No I think she's pointing not waving!" Jamal said, and they all turned to look past the A-Bomb Dome where they could see lots of bouncing lights.

The Crane flapped its wing faster and faster and the Kids found themselves swept up onto a gust that set them down gently on the banks of the Motoyasu River that ran alongside the Park. There they saw thousands of paper lanterns floating on the water. "Oh, this is the Peace Lantern Ceremony," Michiko exclaimed. "I've always wanted to see this. Each of those lanterns contains a message of peace. Isn't it just beautiful!"

The Kids all agreed that it was.

"What a wonderful way to end our adventure," Sunanda said as they started to feel themselves fading.

"Thank you so much for sharing your city's story with us," Maya added and all the Kids nodded in agreement as they hugged each other goodbye.

"It's such a sad story," Johnny sad, "We learned some really heavy stuff today, but it sure was a fun adventure…"

"And I feel hopeful…" Erin added.

"Yes," José agreed and everyone braced themselves for one of his wisecracks. "Because learning about Hiroshima Day helps to inspire people to work together to create a nuclear-free world."

The Kids had been all ready to roll their eyes and chide him that this was no laughing matter. But, this time José had exactly summed up their feelings.

Ahmed began typing on his laptop, ready to conclude the weekly Better World Kids Team meeting, when he saw some exciting information pop up. "Hey look guys, he exclaimed. "There are also some other amazing dates that the UN has set up to get people aware of the need to abolish nuclear weapons."

The Kids peeked over his shoulder.

"The International Day Against Nuclear Tests on August 29 was first observed in 2010," Maya read.

Sunanda pointed out a line in the UN resolution that they all really agreed on as an important first step to create a nuclear free world: "…the end of nuclear tests is one of the key means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world."

Then the laptop showed them a different site. "Whoa, look at that!" Johnny said, pointing excitedly. "The United Nations also declared September 26 as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons as a way to focus on 'initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world...'"

Now The Kids felt really hopeful as they found themselves magically transported back to their own homes, filled with lots of memories and lots to think about, until their next meeting.



- August 6:

International Day against Nuclear Tests
- August 29

International Day for the Total Elimination
of Nuclear Weapons
- August 29


Abolition 2000 -
Mayors For Peace -
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation -
Nukes Are Nuts -
Peace Education Fund -




© 2012-2014 Robert Alan Silverstein
Illustrated by Vineet Siddhartha

Contact The Author
Better World Kids header by Vineet Siddhartha