Kira-Kira Hardcover – Large Print, May 1 2005
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In Cynthia Kadohata's lively, lovely, funny and sad novel -- winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal -- the Japanese-American Takeshima family moves from Iowa to Georgia in the 1950s when Katie, the narrator, is just in kindergarten. Though her parents endure grueling conditions and impossible hours in the non-unionized poultry plant and hatchery where they work, they somehow manage to create a loving, stable home for their three children: Lynn, Katie, and Sammy. Katie's trust in, and admiration for, her older sister Lynn never falters, even when her sisterly advice doesn't seem to make sense. Lynn teaches her about everything from how the sky, the ocean, and people's eyes are special to the injustice of racial prejudice. The two girls dream of buying a house for the family someday and even save $100 in candy money: "Our other favorite book was Silas Marner. We were quite capitalistic and liked the idea of Silas keeping all that gold underneath the floorboards." When Lynn develops lymphoma, it's heartbreaking, but through the course of her worsening illness, Katie does her best to remember Lynn's "kira-kira" (glittery, shining) outlook on life. Small moments shine the brightest in this poignant story; told beautifully and lyrically in Katie's fresh, honest voice. (Ages 11 to 14) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8--Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. When her sister dies of lymphoma, Katie searches for ways to live up to her legacy and to fulfill the dreams she never had a chance to attain. Told from Katie's point of view and set in the 1950s, this beautifully written story tells of a girl struggling to find her own way in a family torn by illness and horrendous work conditions. Katie's parents can barely afford to pay their daughter's medical bills, yet they refuse to join the growing movement to unionize until after Lynn's death. All of the characters are believable and well developed, especially Katie, who acts as a careful observer of everything that happens in her family, even though there is a lot she doesn't understand. Especially heartbreaking are the weeks leading up to Lynn's death, when Katie is exhausted and frustrated by the demands of her sister's illness, yet willing to do anything to make her happy. Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist.--Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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I'm a reader and fan of E. Bird's reviews, but she's got this one all wrong (well, except for maybe the bear trap part). Thank you Amazon, for letting a teen vent!
Kira-Kira is a spectacular book thanks to the author, Cynthia Kadohata.
Glittering. That's how Lynn Takeshima, Katie Takeshima's older sister, always makes everything seem. The sky and how deep it is but see-through at the same time. Even peoples eyes and how they sparkle in their beautiful color. The stars and how they glisten and shine among the moon. All kira-kira. So basically, Lynn is a very calm, magical, and mellow person. Katie, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She is a very out-going and risk-taking kind of girl, but when she gets out of hand, Lynn is always there to get her off the curb, and back on the road.
The Takeshima family went through hard times. After Lynn had died of a severe illness, the whole family had fallen apart. Katie was twelve when Lynn had died and she was very depressed for a long time. So it was up to Katie to get over her depression and remind her family and herself, that there is always something glittering- kira-kira -in the future.
All of this drama and adventure that had happened to the Takeshima family had taken place during the 1950s in the Deep South of Georgia.
Love and hope is the theme of this book. It taught you that when you have a time in your life of frustration or difficulties, you just get a good grip and hang on tight. Just never let go. That's exactly why I like, no, love this book. They just never gave up on hope.
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