Kadohata, C. (2004). Kira-Kira. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Newbery Medal (2005)
“Kira-Kira: The Japanese word for glittering—those beautiful things in the world that are sources of happiness, such as the sky, the stars, and flowers.” -Encyc
Kira-Kira was Katie’s first word. Her sister, Lynn, taught it to her and it has been one of the many connections of their sisterhood. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is historical
fiction for ages ten to fourteen and has been awarded a Newbery Medal. The plot follows these two sisters after their family relocates to Georgia in the southern United States where they experience racism because they are Japanese. Katie especially struggles to adjust to her new environment, but with Lynn’s help she manages to feel like herself again, finding beauty all around her. Then the most tragic thing happens. Lynn becomes feverish, bedridden, and Katie’s life begins to turn around again with trouble in school and socially since her sister is her best friend. Although her parents try to shield her, Katie realizes her sister has cancer and may die.
It’s a story that I keep thinking about, and I’ll probably continue to think about the characters for some time. Cynthia Kadohata’s other books look interesting and I would definitely want to read them, hoping that they were just as emotional because her style of writing and the way she develops characters’ relationships with one another won me over. Readers who enjoy a book that stirs up emotions will love Kira-Kira! If you enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, the writing is similar. And if you end up liking Kira-Kira and want to read another book about two sisters struggling with cancer, you may want to try My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Or if you enjoyed the setting, another book about a girl in the South, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo would be a fantastic choice.