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Sunday, September 5, 2010


by Cythnia Kadohata, 2004, 2444p, rating=3.5
2005 Newberry Award winner

"kira-kira (kee'ra kee'ra):  glittering; shining.
Glittering.  That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem.  The sky is kira-kira because it color is deep but see-through at the same time.  The sea is kira-kira for the same reason.  And so are people's eyes.  When Katie and her family moved from Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering--kira-kira--in the future." (Book's synopsis)

I saw the Newberry seal and figured that it would be a good read if not great.  I suppose I was leaning more on great so I was a bit disappointed.  The story went a little too slow for me.  Right off the bat you knew Lynn's fate so it was a matter of finding out the 5 "W's"...what, when, where, why, and how.  I felt anxious to know the answers and of course it didn't come until the very end and by that time I was a tired.  I think I would have preferred a different beginning, which to say omit knowing Lynn's outcome, or a completely different middle. 

Of course, I did appreciate the relationship between the sisters, Lynn and Katie.  Their bond was admirable and I certainly can relate since I am very close to my sister.  Perhaps because this is geared more to middle-grade school readers ... I felt it lacked depth in developing that bond.  It's hard to describe and my ear is ringing at those of you who have read this and are disagreeing with me.  Any case, simple as it may be to me, it still packed a sweet taste of sisterhood.  A sweet taste as well of hardworking and honest parents.  It wasn't easy for them in this setting in the early 1950s, being Japanese in America but they persevered.

The ending was it's saving grace.  The coming together of Lynn's "theme" was revealed and quite heartwarming.  So if you want a sampling of a sweet family story then this is a good example.

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