Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
2005 Newbery Medal Book
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Reading level: Ages 10-14
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (December 26, 2006)
Kira-Kira is my second book finished for the Young Adult Challenge hosted at Thoughts of Joy. Before I get into the review, I just want to say how much I’m enjoying getting back into Young Adult literature after quite a long hiatus. Aside from the Harry Potter series, I went many many years without reading YA literature, and I’m so glad this blog has inspired me to start reading this genre again. Now, on with the review.
Kira-Kira is the story of the Japanese-American Takeshima family, told from the point of view of Katie, the youngest daughter. We learn in the opening passage of the story that Kira-Kira means “glittering” in Japanese, and that it was Katie’s first word, taught to her by her older sister Lynn. It’s obvious from the beginning that Katie adores
Born in Iowa to Japanese immigrants, Katie and Lynn have a nice childhood, but everything changes when the family’s oriental food store goes out of business, and they move to Georgia to become factory workers in a poultry processing plant. It’s here that Katie realizes for the first time that she is different. Shunned by the white Georgians, the Japanese community in
This heart wrenching story is one that I will soon not forget. Cynthia Kadohata expertly gets into the mind of a girl Katie’s age who has to deal with some very adult situations but does not quite understand them. An example of this is when
“I cried and cried. For a while as I cried I hated my parents, as if it were their fault
We also see racism, prejudice, and the unfair treatment of the factory workers through Katie’s eyes. While some have criticized this book and being slow and uninteresting for young adults, it would have been right up my alley when I was younger. Certainly, it’s not for every kid and may appeal more to girls than boys, but it’s a story that I think will impact many. It was completely deserving of its 2005 Newbery Medal win.
What Other Bloggers Are Saying:
In Spring it is the Dawn: "It was a moving story and I enjoyed hearing it through the voice of young Katie. It might not be full of action but it kept me turning the pages, wanting to read on about the family’s problems and how they coped with them. I came to care about the family, especially the sisters, and wanted to see how things turned out." (read more...)
If you have a review of Kira-Kira, leave a comment with the link, and I'll post it here!