The Timelessness and bonds of family *Contains Spoiler*

Summary:

For Katie Takeshima and her family, life in the rural south is a daily battle. When they lived in Iowa, her parents owned a Japanese grocery store. Now they live in Georgia and her parents work in the hatchery plant. They remains strong by supporting and leaning on each other through hard times. Katie's older sister and best friend Lynn tries to help Katie stay positive despite the huge changes and the daily prejudice the girls face. Lynn teaches Katie about Kira-Kira, which means “glittering” in Japanese.

When Lynn falls ill suddenly, the one person Katie had is slowly disappearing from her life. Her younger brother Sammy is injured playing around an animal trap and now has a limp. Lynn's death seems to be the final straw for the family, and Katie's father purposefully gets himself fired. With the help of Lynn's diary, the family try to work through their grief.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
The author creates an aura in the story that draws the reader in so they can feel as if they are experiencing Katie’s emotions along with her. Detailed descriptions allowed me to vividly imagine the plot in my head. The amazingly strong bond between Katie and Lynn allows the audience to connect with the storyline on a deeper level. There are also small, minor details that makes this story one of a kind.

This book isn’t thriller or horror, it was definitely a page turner for me. I was always eager to keep on reading to see what would happen next. After reading this book, I find it no surprise that Kira-Kira won the Newbery Medal in 2005! The book would make a great gift for anyone 10 or older. It is a good story to get your mind off things and relax for a bit.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Although written for adults, Kira-Kira is a coming-of-age story teens find to be beautiful and enthralling. The story tugs at readers emotions as they connect with the main character and draws them into the story as if they were there in Georgia with Katie.

Content Awareness Factors:

This book does contain some sad, depressing elements that may not be suitable for younger kids. Katie and Lynn's relationship is very strong, and those bonds jump off the page; so when Lynn dies it may be difficult for some readers.


Type of Book:
This is an historical fiction novel about an immigrant family, but more specifically two sisters, in the 1950s and 1960s.
Educational Themes:

The layers to this story include historical context or racism, economics, and growing up in the south; family dynamics (parent to child, siblings); and the processes associated with grief and loss (not just death, but dignity in losing a store, for example).

As noted above, this book is written for adults. Your young reader may (or may not) know this received the Newbery Award for Young People's Literature. Share that with them. Ask them why they think a book written for adults appeals to so many teens?

Reading Level:
4.7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 14
book cover

Title Kira-Kira
Author Cynthia Kadohata
Publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2006
ISBN 9780689856402
Material Paperback
Cost $8.99
Genres Children's Classics, Asia | Asian People
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