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Kira-Kira (2004)

by Cynthia Kadohata

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2,8951384,201 (3.77)36
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.
  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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» See also 36 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 137 (next | show all)
It is with a heavy heart that I write the following review. I am seeking out other works of the author because -this- was her debut into middle-grade fiction, and I want to read other works in case she was simply out of her depth with this.
The author has an astonishing ability to make interesting settings, time periods and concepts completely boring. This could have been a heartbreaking drama, but the author padded her word count, detracted from plot in an attempt to set up more bland setting and uninteresting--everything. There are over a dozen subplots in this novel, and only one is ever explored for more than two pages. Often, the subplots last half a page. They alternate between being Big Lipped Alligator Moments (credit goes to Nostalgia Chick for the term) and Roads to Nowhere (credit goes to Das Mervin of Das Sporking for the term). The author starts the book by writing in the first-person POV of a young child and does miserably at it. The book lacks coherency until the character hits her teen years, and the tone is all wrong for a child. Children don't think in those terms, wouldn't use those words, and don't describe things like that. The author probably excels at writing adults, and I'm interested in reading a book from that POV.
The ending could have also wrung some sadness out of me had I any interest or emotional attachment to the characters. Instead, I was glad the book was finally over. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 23, 2022 |
An amazingly easy book to fall into -- lovely prose, lovely family -- in hard times. Parents work unendingly at the local chicken processing plants, kids fend for themselves as needed, and are somewhat alienated as a Japanese family in a small Georgia town. Oldest sister gets sick and dies of cancer. Small brother gets his leg caught in a metal trap. It's a bummer. Has a certain stoic beauty, though, and an amazing ability to continue despite everything. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |

Kira-kira means glittering in Japanese which this book is not. It's a quiet and innocent book. I can see why people can love this book.

Told from the eyes of a young Japanese girl whose family moves to Georgia, this book won a Newberry award. The author did a fantastic job of telling the world from Katie's innocent eyes. It's just that I was more interested in finishing the book then actually caring about the characters in the book.
( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
This story is about two sisters from japan who live in Georgia. It discusses their life as well as what they struggle with. To keep up with the bills, the parents of the young girls work a lot. Therefore the girls are often left alone. They learn of the culture around them as well as how their culture is portrayed in a place like georgia. I would use this book as a read aloud because ti would be great fro students to understand how refugees feel in a new place. ( )
  fet005 | Nov 18, 2021 |
A really lovely book. Heartbreaking, too. ( )
  emma_mc | Aug 21, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 137 (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.


added by kthomp25 | editVOYA,, Eileen Kuhl
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For Kim, For Stan, And for Sara
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My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: kira-kira.
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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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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Average: (3.77)
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