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Berlin and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Friday, July 10 – Friday, August 21
You’re invited to join us in a town-wide project of making 1,000 paper cranes, symbolizing a collective wish for health, hope, and peace and do everything we can to work together towards these goals. Call or request origami kit online!

July 10, 2020

Friday, July 10
to Friday, August 21


Berlin-Peck Memorial Library invites all our friends in Berlin and beyond to join us in a town-wide project of making 1,000 paper cranes.

You may donate these for display at the library, keep them, or give them to others in the community. Please let us know how many you make and send us a picture. Cranes may be any size and made from any lightweight paper, and we will also provide origami kits and tutorials for both a traditional crane and a simplified version for younger children.

If you’d like to add cranes to the library’s display, please place them in a ziploc bag and leave them in the basket in front of the library (on the bench by the bookdrop).  We’re also keeping track of the number of cranes made, so if you can let us know the total number of cranes you’ve made, we’ll add that to our tally.

What have we folded so far?

Paper Cranes

Craft Kits

Origami Instructions


Storytelling Event

On July 9, we welcomed Storyteller Andrea Kamens to hear the the true story of Sadako Sasaki folding 1,000 paper cranes, as well as other related tales.

Andrea Kamens tells traditional, original, Jewish, and first-person stories that tremble with truth. Based in Boston, she’s on the board of The Story Space in Somerville, MA, the region’s longest running weekly venue. Andrea is a teacher, emcee, storytelling host, community volunteer, and mom of five. Since March, she has been an active member of Artists Standing Strong Together, a global initiative to support performing artists and audiences with the creation of new online communities and programs.

Missed the event—or just want to watch again? Andrea’s four crane stories are available for a limited time!



Why 1,000 origami cranes?

“Senbazuru literally means 1,000 cranes and refers not to the wild creature, but to its delicate replication in paper, in origami. The challenge of completing a lei of one thousand folded paper cranes is a great one, but said to be rewarded with a wish.”

This legend comes from Japanese lore, in which a crane was thought to live for 1,000 years, thus being a symbol of health and good luck. Folding a thousand paper cranes on behalf of someone who’s sick indicates care and concern for that person.

Sadako Sasaki (memorialized in the books Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and Sadako by Eleanor Coerr) was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Ten years later, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Sadako spent her final days in the hospital folding cranes in the hopes that she would have her wish for healing granted. Sadly, she died in 1955. After her death, her friends and classmates promised to create a monument in her honor, and this sparked a children’s peace moment which lead to the origami crane becoming a symbol of peace (learn more). Largely because of Sadako and her friends, the folding of one thousand cranes, which many leave at shrines or give to others, has become a tradition in Japan.

The origami crane has become a symbol of peace, hope, and healing.

As we have all had our own struggles during recent months, it’s more important than ever to share a collective wish for health, hope, and peace and do everything we can to work together towards these goals.