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Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
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Kira-Kira (2004)

by Cynthia Kadohata

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2,1821142,978 (3.78)31
  1. 00
    A Step From Heaven by An Na (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A beautiful realistic fiction novel about a young girl growing up to be hardened young women and the hardships, trials and tribulations she overcomes in the process.
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Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
Katie Takeshima moves from Iowa to Georgia with her family in the 1950s when their Asian grocery store goes under, so her parents can find work at a chicken plant. She and her older sister Lynn grow and build community, while Lynn's bouts of weakness grow increasingly frequent. We eventually learn Lynn has lymphoma, and though this is the undercurrent throughout the book that ties the journey together, the book is much more than that undercurrent.

I cried repeatedly. While this book isn't my usual fare, it is well written and a breathing slice of life, and the details about her parents' working lives and racism that Katie accepts have Historical Weight to an adult observer. For me, this is a nice continuation to having recently finished The Buddha in the Attic, which was about the experience of Japanese immigrants to the USA until the mid-1940s. ( )
  pammab | Dec 25, 2016 |
Narrator Katie idolized her older sister, Lynn. Her story covers several years in the life of her family, Japanese Americans, trying to get by in Georgia during the 1950s. Life is difficult for them at its best. But then Lynn becomes very sick. Their parents work harder and longer to try to keep up with the medical bills.
While this is the major theme of the book, there are many many little sub-plots as well. Growing up, friendships, boys, their toddler brother getting seriously injured, union activity at their mother's factory, a peculiar uncle...
Much ground is covered in a fairly short novel, and it is beautiful. ( )
  fingerpost | Nov 7, 2016 |
It seems as if it were almost written to pander to the Newbery committee. Historical fiction, about an under-explored situation, and also a big family story.

But Katie was too young to share the story. We never got to really know the characters much beyond their iconographic roles. Maybe a reread or a discussion would reveal to me more of what the author hints at, because there is more subtle showing and less telling than I'm accustomed to in MG books. But as I reflect, I still feel like the story is lacking the spark and freshness that Newbery winners should have.

Read it if you want to, but I won't recommend it. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Ambling slice of life in the days of a child. You can imagine the sprawling locale of rural Georgia, endless and uninspiring and the exhausting work schedule of the parents. Seems to portray accurately the cultural and social times, the isolation and prejudice of Japanese and poor working conditions. The falling apart of the family is real.

Katie Takeshima's beloved older sister Lynn makes everything seem kira-kira, or glittering. Even when the family moves to Georgia and lives in a substandard apartment complex, Lynn's zest for life continues to delight and inspire Katie. When Lynn is diagnosed with lymphoma, her illness weighs heavily upon the family and she later dies. Remembering Lynn's spirit for life helps Katie emerge from her mourning.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This book didn't have the voice and character development that I enjoy. It was not what I usually expect from a Newberry winner. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
Have you ever been treated differently because of your heritage? Did your best friend/sister die when you were young? In this book a little girl named Katie goes through all of this. Kira-Kira is a beautiful piece of writing. The author Cynthia Kadohata did an amazing job on this book. She is an awesome writer. I love how it is from the perspective of a nine year old because it shows us what life growing up in that time was like for her

Kira-Kira is a beautiful piece of writing. The book takes place in the 1950’s in Georgia right after the war, so they are treated differently because they are Japanese. The protagonist of the story is Lynn. Lynn is smart and nice and thinks everything is beautiful. Katie is her sister. Katie is a helping bigger sister to her brother Sammy. When Katie’s mom is working she took care of her brother.

In Kira-Kira they are being treated differently. Katie’s whole family is affected. When they are getting a hotel room the lady was just being mean to them because they were Japanese.

In Kira-Kira the resolution was they had to deal with being treated differently. In the story the protagonist learned not to give up. Lynn kept on fighting until she couldn’t handle it. I learned how hard it was to grow up in the 1950’s

In conclusion I like the book Kira-Kira and I give it a 4 out of 5. The bad part about it was it was predictable. This book reminds me of when I was learning about Human rights. One strength of the book is when Katie and Lynn tried to help their parent save up money. One of the weakness when Lynn had a friend and had no time for Katie. Well I hope you like my opinion on Kira-Kira.
added by Allisen | editMs. Moore's Class, Allie (Apr 11, 2014)
 
Angie Rogers (Children's Literature)
This is the story of two Japanese-American sisters who move to rural Georgia from Iowa so that their parents can earn a better living. Katie, the younger sister from whose point of view the story is told, thinks that her sister Lynn is a genius who can do anything. As the story progresses and it becomes clear that the better living being earned by the parents means that they must work impossible schedules, it also becomes apparent that something is wrong with Lynn, who is often tired and sick. Lynn's greatest dream is for the family to move from the tiny apartment in which they live into their own house. When her parents, who never borrow money and do not trust banks, finally decide to get a loan to get Lynn's house, it is clear that her sickness must be serious. Finally, Katie's father tells her that Lynn has lymphoma. When Lynn finally dies, Katie assumes her role of keeping the family's dreams alive, despite the difficulties they are having emotionally and financially. This book would be especially good for students studying the aftermath of World War II on Japanese Americans. In addition, it would be excellent reading material for any student going through the loss of a family member. 2004, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $15.95. Ages 11 up.

added by kthomp25 | editChildren's Literature, Angie Rogers
 
Eileen Kuhl (VOYA, August 2004 (Vol. 27, No. 3))
Kadohata's touching story of sibling devotion is a glittering tale, as its Japanese title suggests. Set in 1950s rural Georgia, it recounts the story of a Japanese American family struggling against prejudice and exhausting labor at a poultry factory in order to build a rewarding life. Told from the perspective of young Katie from the age of five through twelve years old, the story offers her humorous and innocent observations of her close family and the important life lessons that she learns from her adored older sister, Lynn, who has encouraged Katie to dream and to appreciate everyday things. The inseparable sisters plan to spend their futures always close together; however, everything changes when Lynn gets sick and is diagnosed with lymphoma. The prolonged illness overwhelms the emotionally devastated family. Katie's mother and father become distant and impatient under the weight of the medical bills that threaten their home, and Katie, who had always been cared for by her older sister, must now become the caretaker, causing bitterness, anger, and confusion for the first time. Middle school girls will relate to Katie, her heartfelt everyday concerns, and her agony when Lynn dies. In the end, she tries to honor her sister's memory through the valuable lessons that Lynn taught her and by always looking for the glitter, the kira-kira in life. Readers who enjoyed Sis Deans's Everyday and All the Time (Henry Holt, 2003/VOYA October 2003) or The Letters by Kazumi Yumoto (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002/VOYA October 2002) will appreciate this lyrical story of coping with death. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2004, Atheneum/S & S, 244p., $15.95. Ages 11 to 14.

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added by kthomp25 | editVOYA,, Eileen Kuhl
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Kim, For Stan, And for Sara
First words
My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: kira-kira.
Quotations
By the time I was six and ready to start school, my accent had already become very Southern.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689856407, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

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Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill.

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