The late Toshiko Ishikawa Hilliker, a Hiroshima native who immigrated to the United States about 15 years after World War II, started to open up later in life about being a hibakusha who lived through the decimation of her home city on Aug. 6, 1945.

Her daughter, the author Kathleen Burkinshaw, remembers first learning at age 11 about her mother's childhood in the city. At the time, as the 35th anniversary of the nuclear attack approached, Hilliker declined to share details about the traumatic experience with her young daughter.

About two decades later, however, she began to reveal more information in conversations from about 2001 through the end of her life in 2015, with her testimony forming the basis of Burkinshaw's 2016 novel for middle-grade readers, "The Last Cherry Blossom."