By Cynthia Kadohata

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrea pavlik
Kira-Kira is one of the most heart filling books I have ever read. A young girl named Katie lived with her older sister Lynn in Iowa. They were inseparable. Katie wanted to be just like Lynn. According to Katie, Lynn was the smartest person ever. They always use to say Kira-Kira which meant glitter or glittering. When they grew older there plan was to move to California upon the blue sea. Katie's parents didn't have that much money. They both worked at a Chinese grocery store and only sold ethnic foods. Their Uncle Katuhisa told them to move to Georgia and work in a Chicken processing plant where they would make more money. Of course they had to take this offer to have a living. Katie didn't want to move to Georgia, nor did Lynn. When they finally moved to Georgia, Lynn grew deathly ill. Still Lynn and Katie's family didn't have enough money to pay the doctor bills. On top of that the parents had a new baby named Sammy. There was so much going on. Lynn had always dreamed of having a blue house to remind her of the California sea. Katie had saved up all her money and together the family bought a blue small house. Katie could tell Lynn was happy under her pale face. Time went on and Lynn grew sicker. Eventually Lynn died. This was a tragedy for the family. No one knew it was coming. Katie felt that she needed to run away. Ever so often they would clean off her grave and add beautiful flowers. Read Kira-Kira to experience these ___________ events.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vanessa harrison
Kira-Kira, Cynthia Kadohata, 5 stars.

Kira-kira means glittering or shining. This is the heart-breaking tale of a Japanese girl named Katie Takeshima. Her favorite person in the whole world is her sister, Lynn Takeshima. Katie admires everything about her sister. It's Lynn who teaches Katie about everything in the world. From her early childhood, she has many times with her sister which she will never forget. One day, they find out they are moving to Georgia. As Katie grows up in Georgia, she experiences many new changes. Sometimes she even feels Lynn is changing in certain ways. All is well until a dreadful thing comes upon Lynn, which changes Katie's life entirely.

Some other titles I would recommend are Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Number The Stars by Lois Lowry, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, and A Dog's Life: The Autobiography Of A Stray. I am a middle school student in North Carolina.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book is great for good readers from the ages 10-12. This book is super good, and has many great details. It is quite long, but I enjoyed every minute of it. If your a teacher, I would recommend it for a summer reading book for your future class. Be prepared for the sad ending, but don't not read this book only because of the ending this book is a five star book for sure!
Caroline Rankin age: 11
69 Million Things I Hate About You (Winning The Billionaire) :: The Sunday Times bestseller. The most chilling book you'll read this year :: Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door :: (Discworld Novel 22) (Discworld series) - The Last Continent :: By Tedd Arnold - Parts (12/26/00)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jason prager
I give Kira Kira, written by Cynthia Kadohata, a four-and-a-half star rating.

My four-and-a-half star rating was based upon the problem and solutions, wording and vocabulary, relations toward real life, and explanations of the characters. The problems and solutions such as when Sammy got his foot caught in the animal trap, showed Katie, the main character, how much her brother, Sammy, and her older sister, Lynn, cared about eachother. When Katie and her family had to move from Iowa to Georgia for her parents' jobs in hatcheries, becuase their Oriental grocery store was going down hill and couldn't afford a house for their own, this was another problem. The solution was Katie and Lynn finally making friends, Amber and Silly, and excelled in their lives.

The story was told by Katie and so it had small vocabulary since she was in her younger years. The characters were well explained, Katie looks up to her sister and wishes she could be as smart and as pretty as Lynn, Lynn is very intelligent and spends half her life sick. Their parents are very up tight and are treated differently because they are Japanese. I didn't rate Kira Kira a five star rating becuase sometimes the story and settings became hard to make clear.

I recommend reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Out of the Dust". I enjoy playing soccer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
arum park
Cynthia Kadohata's `Kira-Kira' is an inspirational and moving book. Katie is a young girl who looks up to her older sister, Lynn. It might be her good looks, love for animals, or smarts that seems to attract everyone's attention. Katie's family includes a strict mother, an easygoing father, and the odd fish, Uncle Katsuhisa. They receive many looks, for they are Japanese, and come from Iowa. Katie and Lynn aren't exactly enthusiastic about moving to Georgia, but their parents need jobs at the Hatchery.

Lynn tells Katie that kira-kira means glittering, and they have many ways to use kira-kira. She describes that the sky is kira-kira because it's deep, but see-through at the same time. The ocean and eyes are kira-kira for the exact same reason. Kadohata's writing style is just like the sky and the ocean. It has deep meaning, even though at first it seems like a children's book. I thoroughly enjoyed the character development, and the small jokes spread throughout the book. Overall, I would seriously suggest this book to people who are looking for a fictional, emotional, and moving book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
esther roth
In this endearing book, the Takeshima family moves to Georgia so that Katie's parents can work in the chicken factory. There, young Katie learns about Southern racism and the practically-slave-labor conditions of factory workers. But when Katie's older sister Lynn becomes sick, Katie learns the hardest lesson of all...This is a sweet story - and pretty typical for Newbery winners. (Newbery judges certainly like bereavement, racism, and Southern settings!) The character in the book ranges from about 5-7, I'd say, but I think the subject and reading level is more appropriate for a 10-12 year old.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carol sparks
"Kira-Kira" is not like most other books; instead of a linear narrative with a clear plot, conflict, climax, and resoloution, this story reads in a more sprawling, nonlinear way. I had heard that it felt like a memoir, and this is definitely true; the first-person narrative only adds to the feeling. Yet still, as main character Katie recounts her life as a young Japanese American growing up in Georgia in the early '60s, the events along the way are at times very funny, often sad, and always captivating. The main theme is Katie's relationship with her sister Lynn, as the two girls alternately come together and drift apart, but "Kira-Kira" also touches on poverty, discrimination, and coming of age. It's a wonderful book, whether you're looking for a meaty read for younger kids or a breezy one for teens.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karli younger
The book Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohada is about a Japanese girl, Katie, who depends on her sister, Lynn, for everything. She's the one who told Katie why people stare at their Japanese family and why they don't talk to them, tells her about life, and everything Katie knows. They love to think of everything as kira-kira (Japanese for glittering) like the sky, water, and peoples eyes. Until Lynn got horribly ill, and her family falls apart. Will Katie show her family that life can still be kira-kira?
This book teaches a great lesson about life. If something sad happens, don't let it depress your whole life. That is what Katie tries to teach her family.
This is a heart warming book. It is one of my favorite books! It got a Newbery Award, and it deserves it! Read this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
guillermo goddard
Lynn and Katie are growing up with a happy life in the state of Iowa. But one day their family grocery store goes out of buisness. The family is forced to move to Georgia so the parents can get a job. They move into an apartment and then again into a little blue house not too far away. By the time Katie's in first grade her mom has a baby boy named Sam. Lynn gets sick. After so long not knowing what was wrong with her Katie tries to please Lynn by stealing, lying and skipping school. Lynn finds out that she has Lymphoma and dies, leaving behind a diary of all her memories.

Kira-Kira was very interesting. At times it was great in others it was dull. At the beginning it was boring but towards the middle it grabbed my attention. I loved the characters. They were happy at times and sad in others. If you enjoy excitement it is definitely not the book for you. If you enjoy sad books this is the one to grab. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers. So I gave it four out of five stars.

Sixth grader from Madison, WI
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
staci flinchbaugh
Kira-Kira is a book about a family who seems to struggle through life. This book teaches you that life can be sad. Kira-Kira taught me how life can be happy and sad in all different ways. Katie and Lynn are young (well, Kate's young) sisters who live in Iowa with their parents and their baby brother named Sammy. They don't have that much money. Their parents work in a factory and all the kids have to make sacrifices. Katie and Sammy have to take care of Lynn throughout the book. Lynn and Katie were best friends as sisters but sometimes Lynn got sad because her sickness didn't allow her to play with all her friends.

This book is long and had sad stuff in it. I still think it's a good story but beware it's a sad book.

by Joelle
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In the book Kira-Kira, Katie is the main character that goes through a lot of struggles as a child. The very first struggle in the book is having to move across the country from Iowa to Georgia. Katie loves her sister, Lynn, because she tells her everything, including that they weren't going to be in the same house anymore. After they have gotten used to being in a different state, Lynn gets very sick, which is a hard situation for Katie to go through. Lynn becomes more and more ill throughout the pages of the book. After a serious tragedy, MR. Takeshima does something he regrets, then gets fired. This book, Kira-Kira, is in written in the eyes of Katie, which makes it more realistic to the reader. I think this is a great book for 4th-12th grade, but anybody can read it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kira Kira is a very touching book. It was about Katie and Lynn, who were sisters, and were very close to each other. Katie learned her first word from Lynn, which is "kira-kira", meaning glittering. They had experienced a lot together, and had so much fun. But the time came when the family started to fall apart, unfortunate things started to happen, and Lynn got sick. When Lynn got sick, she already expected death, so she had planned what to leave to her parents, to her younger brother, and to Katie are her encyclopedias and her diary. As expected, Lynn passed away. Katie experienced extreme sadness with the death of her sister. But as time passed, she understood why Lynn taught her the word "kira-kira" (glittering). It was because Lynn wanted to remind Katie that even if bad happenings that could change her life happen, there is always something positive in the future, or should i say there is always something 'glittering' in the future. :))
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
wendy coyne
"Kira-Kira" is a story about a Japanese-American girl, Katie, and her relationship with Lynnie, her sister. While the read was good, and and it's a book I recommend, I felt like the book wasn't quite good enough to be the Newbery Medal winner.

I'm going to focus on the flaws here because other readers have done a good job of the positive points. So even though this sounds like an overly negative review, I agree with my four star rating.

The storyline and ending is set up pretty early in the novel. You know that Katie and her sister are close, and that something happens to her sister. The rest of the novel then sets up their relationship and the various events that change it. To me, the book would have been stronger if the author had not foreshadowed the eventual emotional climax of the book on the first page.

There is another odd part where the author foreshadows certain things at the end of chapter one, "We got sent to bed without supper because my parents said hitting someone was the worst thing you could do. Stealing was second, and lying was third. Before I was twelve, I would have committed all three of those crimes." You get the feeling that those three items will be the thrust of the storyline of the novel. And while all three do HAPPEN, they feel merely like sidenotes... events that happen but don't really mean anything. For the stealings... sure, she gets in trouble... but it doesn't seem like her perspective changed because of it. She didn't even ever get found out about punching someone or lying... no lesson learned, no change of character. If it wasn't for the foreshadow, it wouldn't matter. But because of the foreshadowing (which also happens to be the quote on the back cover) it seemed to me that the author casually made that promise to the reader, then half way through the novel realized that she needed to follow up on that and threw them in half heartedly.

In fact, almost every single case of foreshadowing ends up in disappointment. Katie is told that school will be tough because she is Japanese in a time where that sort of thing is mistrusted. And while it is later off-handedly mentioned that most people didn't talk to her, we don't really see the effects of this on her. It's like it doesn't matter... when in reality something like that would be devistating to a child.

Foreshadowing problems aside, Kadohata's writing just feels a bit flat to me. She failed to completely wrap me up in the novel. There was a couple of interesting quirks that made me smile, but they were rare. What really saved the book, really, was the way the author textures Katie and Lynnie's relationship. Relationships and characters drive books for me more than plots.

Definately a book I recommend you read... but definately not award-worthy, either.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This story has great appeal for me. My childhood during World War II could best be described as "sheltered" and friends interested me more than siblings when I was Katie Takeshima's age. Cynthia Kadohata writes about two young Japanese-American sisters looking for what is "kira kira" - - beautiful & special - - in their lives.

Their parents struggled continually to care for their family with jobs in chicken processing. Like many readers I had no awareness of prejudice against Japanese-Americans until hearing adults discuss the injustice of their internment during the war. Kadohata's story is also about the older sister's illness & the courage required of family members dealing with this challenge.

The descriptions of life in The small town & rural setting is quite realistic. In those late Depression-Era days, "things" didn't take center stage the way they seem to with today's children & youth. "Kira Kira" has a special sparkle; it makes me feel optimistic in an unexpected way. The strength of family loyalty is so very heartening.

Reviewer mcHAIKU suggests that even the youngest readers may grow to appreciate the "glitter" in their family and natural surroundings! Families are urged to explore together the art of the "Floating World" OR "UKIYO-e" that explains so beautifully the cultural background of many Asian-Americans.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I thought that Kira-Kira by Kadohata was a great book and definetly deserves the Newberry-Honor. It is a touching story and usually I don't like those kinds of book but for some reason this book kept me reading and I kept on wanting more. I read thsi book is a mere 1 day just because of its good quality work and its just an amazing book. I would reacommend you to read thsi book as it is one of the pretty good newberry honor book that I have read in a while.

This book is about a girl who shares her story of her quiet life that goes through many things including critism , greif, fights and death. This girl is a girl that is japanese and lives in a time where they face hard critism and they just get ignored. Suddenly, after her sister Lynn gets a bit popular at the school, she gets deathly sick and easily tired. The girl trys to help her sister and keeps believing that she will live and that Lynn with regain strength. Eventually Lynn dies and leaves the family full of grief. the story ends very peacefully giving the mood of peace and calming down.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
When I sit down to read a novel, the element of the story that carries me through to the end is character. An amazing main character can make up for a weak plot, allow me to get inside her head and relate to her feelings and frustrations, and become part of her world. In the novel Kira-Kira, I was not able to do this.

Kira-Kira is the story of two close-knit Japanese sisters living in Iowa. When their family's grocery store goes out of business, they must move in with their father's brother, who lives in Georgia. It is in Georgia that the older sister, Lynn, is diagnosed with lymphoma.

Katie, the younger sister, narrates the story and is its main character. I found her to be an unrealistic little girl. Her feelings about and reactions to her sister's illness didn't seem genuine to me-not how someone would really respond in this situation. When I read the book, I felt like a spectator watching the story happen, because I didn't know what was happening inside Katie's mind. In a good novel, I become a participant and take part in the main character's life and feelings.

This book did have potential. It could have been a novel that girls could identify with, learn from about how to cope with tragedy, and watch how someone our age grows and changes through a hard time. Instead, to me, it was an unconvincing and shallow portrayal of a girl's response to loss.

I do not think that Kira-Kira deserved this year's Newberry Medal when there were so many other books for young people that feature real, deep, relatable characters who a reader can connect with and love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bridget burke
I found it really hard to put down this book once I began reading it. Kira-Kira is a book that is unforgettable, with a beautiful story and memorable characters. Katie is a young, Japanese-American girl who looks up to her older sister Lynn. Lynn is the older sister of the two, and it's apparent right away how smart and determined Lynn is. She loves Science and the Ocean and wants to live on the beach someday. What is so touching about this book is that the real life scenarios the author brings to the reader are very relatable to almost anyone; regardless of where they come from. I didn't know much about how Japanese were treated in the South when segregation was prominent, because it's hardly mentioned in our history (except during World War II). This taught me that it wasn't only a "black and white" issue, and that other groups were affected as well. Also, as a twin myself, I know the deep relationship between sisters. The terminal illness Lynn faces in the book is sad, but it makes us appreciate the smaller things in life. Throughout the book, I could see the up and down conditions of her illness, just like the glittering in the "kira-kira." There were days when Lynn felt well enough to play with her siblings, and others where she could hardly get out of bed. Although this book is primarily targeted to adolescents, I felt moved at 28 years old. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced any amount of grief or disappointment; a reminder that there is always something bright on the other side of things.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa valentine
Kira-Kira is about Katie, a Japanese girl, and her family. They don't have much money and aren't always treated well. They eventually move so they would have a better life. Things do improve slightly, and they even get a house of their own, instead of renting a house or an apartment. Then things worsen when Katie's sister Lynn gets ill, and her little brother Sam gets hurt. They have a lot of medical bills to pay, even when they aren't doing well with money.

I gave it 4 stars. It is a sad book, but it is very interesting and somewhat suspenseful. I always wanted to keep reading. What will happen to Lynn? Would they get deep in debt? Find out yourself.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nani xoxx
This endearing story about a Japanese-American family transcends cultural boundaries to show the love children miss when their parents are too busy chasing the "American dream." It is a high interest/low reading level book that children from eight to 80 can read and enjoy. It is a perfect book to teach the concept of theme without being didactic. This is a lovely, hear-wrenching read that belongs in every primary school classroom.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
debbi mack
The book Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is a book that deserves a 2 star rating.

This book deserves 2 stars because throughout the story it is really depressing. The book starts out as Lynn and Katie loving each other greatly in a town in Iowa. But early on in the book Katie's family has to move to Georgia and the parents start working almost all day. The father works so much that he sleeps at his job to save driving time. Though Katie and Lynn's friendship survives it soon falls apart. Lynn becomes sick and is no longer able to go to school. Katie adapts to the South well enough and develops a Southern accent that becomes so well known that she is paid to talk to people. Katie also continues saving money that she finds her sister has been saving to buy a house for the family. The condition of Lynn becomes worse and she is dead due to the sickness.

The book's few happy parts are as I said, few. When Katie buys a house with the saved up money she has is really touching. It isn't too happy though because Lynn acts as if it isn't to much a big deal which kills it for the family. When Katie is taught what kira kira is in the beginning, that also is somewhat touching. That too though has a bad side to it, because Lynn is telling her about kira kira a rabid dog attacks. The final happy part is when Katie has a birthday party and some friends come over. This was one of the few truly happy parts. The title Kira Kira is not deserved and should be called something like My Depressed Life instead of the Japanese word for glittering.

Some books I would recommend are Eragon, Eldest, and Fallen Angels are really good books. My name is Chris , age 12, and I'm in 6th grade.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
emma wetzel
This book (as you probably know by reading other reviews) is about a Japanese/American family trying to get by in the 50's. SOme of the issues they touch upon are sibling rivalry and sibling love, unfair labor laws, financial issues, predjudice and more. This is a very sad story, and I wouldn't rate it bad just because its a sad story. Not everything in life is fluffy and it is moving. However I would complain that the age level they recomended for. The actual contents of the book are geared more too young teens (I'd deffinetly say 10 and UP) even though its written simple enough for younger readers, the content/issues make it hard for younger readers to comprehend. First, even though its based at a different time it isn't reminded and in todays modern age some of the situatons are just unbelievable or will leave you wondering "what were they thinking??" as they do things and put up with things that are hard to imagine in this day and age, let alone accept anyone just living with it. (and in reality a lot of the things they accept and live with people did not accept and live with in the 50's. there have always been the people who stand up for themselves and those who get walked all over.) This is good to show children what life was like but also, as its barely pointed out, not something younger children may keep in mind through-out the book making this book something for older children. As well some of the subject matter is quite graphic and covers things that some parents may not have discused with an 8 or 9 year old such as menstration.
Over all a good read for parents who are willing to discuss the subject together, the historical and ethical issues at hand in the book as well as the physical stuff they discuss. Don't send your child in on this one alone though.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
eric wilson
The story of two sisters and their immigrant family, set in the 1950s. The two sisters are remarkably devoted to each other, through their many ups and downs. First, Lynn, as the older sister, gently guides Katie and teaches her many things. Then it is Katie's turn to care for her sister as she lays dying.

The story is told in Katie's voice. All the characters ring true, and the portrayal of the family's troubles is moving and realistic. The theme throughout the book is one of family togetherness (especially sibling love, as opposed to sibling rivalry) and dignity in the middle of stressful situations. This is a book that shakes us out of our petty concerns, and reminds us that there more important things to worry about in life.

The sentences in the book are short and the language is simple. The prose is forgettable except in a few places. One of the good scenes in the book is when Katie's father apologizes to the factory owner and Katie says "And that was how I learned that even when you're very, very wrong, if you apologize, you can still hold yourself with dignity."

However, the unflinching honesty in this book may be too much for a sensitive child. It is certainly not a book for any 9 to 12 year old. Children older than 13 can read it, depending on their level of maturity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an all in one happy, sad, and all around funny fictional book. This is probably the best book I have read this year. Katie Takeshima and her sister Lynn Takeshima learned that everything was Kira- Kira(shinning). But when Katie and her family move from a Japanese community to Georgia, life turns from fabulous to not so fabulous. Lynn gets ill and her family is worried. So, it is up to Katie to remind them there is always a better tomorrow- or is there? This book is an enjoyable book for everyone. There is a little bit of swearing and sexual humor, but I still loved it. I really liked how the author made it humoruos in the worst of times.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Newbery Award winner for 2005, and a charming book. It's nice to get a Newbery winner about an intact family. Newbery seems to favor youngsters in the primary role who have to deal with little or no family support. The last time we saw a winner with a family together was `98's Out of the Dust. The family is a powerfully good thing here. While I would expect most readers to focus on the story's death, really it seems to be more about affirming life and loving our family wholly. The portrayal of Japanese family (and community) values and life for those of Japanese ancestry some fifty years ago is done gently but clearly. The characters are well done, the parents and two sisters, especially. (The younger brother is fine, but his age limits personality breadth.) The sisters' relationship with one another is precious. As an adult reader, I thought it very good and can completely see why Newbery chose it. My concern about it is how a young person will see it. There's relatively little action here and I could imagine a young reader finding it much less than compelling. As such, I would probably recommend the honor book Al Capone Does My Shirts (which also nicely has an intact family with a special sibling relationship) before Kira-Kira.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
deborah bull
A sensitive novel in the authentic voice of a young immigrant girl is at once a story of a Japanese American family and the coming of age of a child and her love for a sister who saw the beauty of life but died early.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cam ha nguyen
This is a very touching book about a Japanese American family that moves to a small town in Georgia. The book focuses on the youngest girl, Katie Natsuko Takeshima.

Katie goes through a lot. Several moves, discrimination, problems at home, the birth of a brother, and life in general. When her older sister, Lynn, gets very ill, she goes through her beloved sister's death as well.

I like this book because it is very realistic, descriptive and well written. It is certainly one of my favorite books. It has some thoroughly painful scenes in it, such as when Katie and Lynn have a fight and Katie feels horrible for saying she hated Lynn. After Lynn dies, she makes an alter to Lynn's spirit and trys to live her life in the kira-kira (glittering) way that would have made her kira-kira sister proud of her
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cyrus carter
I read this book when I was in middle school. Out of the hundreds of books I read in middle school this is one of the best ones I had read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The book Kira-Kira is very interesting. It is about a 10 year old girl who loves her older sister, Lynn very much! Kaity goes through some hard situations in her life, but Lynn helps her through most of them. When Lynn gets very sick Kaity, Sammy (their yonger brother) and their parents start to worry. To know what happens in the rest of the book you will just have to read this AWESOME BOOK!!

I think this book was really fun to read! It teaches you life lessons and holds your attention. I recommend this book for ages 10 and up. If you love to read you should read this GREAT book!!

Review from Toki Student, Madison WI.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brody bohrn
l absolutely loved this book. I've only had it for a tad bit over two years and it is completely worn down because I've read it so much. I would always put this in my top 10 in recomandations. It is just that good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sorcha backshall
I thought that the book was very emotional because Katie is a very poor girl and then many unfortunate things happen to her. The book almost made me cry and even though the book is fiction, it felt like it was a true story. I am going to read Kira-Kira again because I enjoyed it a lot. I would recomend this book to people who want something very interesting to read and for people who want to read something that will hook them in. I couldn't stop reading this book even if I felt like not reading. When I read it, I felt like I could actually see Katie and her family and how poor they were. I think that this book is good for any one at any age.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Katie is Japanese-American and she adores her older sister, Lynn. Their parents close their Oriental food market in Iowa and must move to Georgia to find work in the chicken-processing plants there. It is a hard life. The family is poor, but " the way Japanese people are poor, meaning (they) never borrowed money from anyone, period."

Lynn is Katie's idol and the two girls are wonderful friends. Lynn teaches Katie all she has learned in life. Then Lynn becomes weak and ill and the family is shaken to the core.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
samantha chandler
Kira-Kira is an awesome book! It is about a Japanese family that is poor and the parents have to move their family to Georgia where their Aunt, Uncle, and cousins live so their parents can get a job. Katie and Lynn are best friends even though they are sisters and are four years apart. Katie is the youngest and Lynn is the oldest. Lynn is a genius but Katie isn`t that sharp. Everyday, Lynn goes to school and gets made fun of because they are Japanese, but when Katie starts school, Lynn tries to protect her from that. Every night, their dad gives them a nickel to go buy a treat at the grocery store. But when their mom has a baby, things change. Their apartment is falling apart and they want their own house. So Katie and Lynn start to save the nickels they get from their father everynight for a new house secretly. Soon, Lynn gets older and pretty and popular at her school. She has a best friend now and has grown apart from her sister. Then, Lynn gets gets a terrible illness that could kill you. She misses school everyday and has lost her bestfriend. She gets medical bills and her sister does everything she can to keep the family together.What will happen to Lynn? Read the book to find out!!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
christine cochrum
Imagine having to take care of your family, getting discrimination from your peers, always being second best in your parents' eyes to your big sister, and watching your sister, knowing that you can't do anything. Katie, the main character in Kira-Kira, experiences all of this. Growing up in the 1950s as a Japanese girl, Katie was very close to her family, for those were all her friends. Lynn, her older sister, was very good at school and Katie's best friend. Her parents work long hours at poultry factories, so Katie does most of the work around the house. Her parents always pay attention to Lynn, never Katie. Lynn starts hanging out with other people and doesn't talk to Katie. Katie has a new baby brother, so she takes care of him too. Lynn gets very sick and gets more attention, as usual. Lynn and Katie mend their friendship before Lynn dies. This book was very good. Most would like it, some would think it is boring.

This book really showed the viewpoint of a middle child. Katie always thought that her parents paid attention to only her sister, but that was because they were worried about Lynn, because she was getting sick a lot. Katie thought that her parents were disappointed in her because she got so-so grades. That was wrong, because they were working long hours at the factories and were tired when they showed them their report cards and would be too tired to celebrate. Katie thought that she wasn't going to do housework because her parents never acknowledged her for when she did things for them, but they saw when Lynn did the littlest things. That was because this was near the time when Lynn was getting sicker and dying, so they were happy with any improvement.

This book had very detailed characters. Katie was portrayed as the girl next-door, sweet, nice, always giving. Lynn was the poster child. She got good grades, was popular, and loved by everyone. Uncle Katsuhisa was the favorite uncle. He was funny, fun to play with, never harsh, and came to everyone's rescue.

This book was very focused on family. The siblings, Lynn, Katie and Sammy, were always very nice to each other, not like real siblings. No fights or yelling, just nice. The reason that they moved, in the beginning, mainly was to keep the Japanese tradition alive and keep their family alive. The only friends the siblings had were family. Nobody was even remotely nice to them because they were Japanese. In the end, when Lynn died, the family was a disaster, mourning. They pulled together for Lynn. They knew Lynn would roll over in her grave if she saw that family. So they pulled fewer hours at the factories, and spent more time as a family.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ruhullah rahimov
Kira-Kira is about a young Japanese girl named Katie, and her sister Lynn. Katie loves Lynn more than anything in the world. They did everything together. Lynn, Katie, their mom, and their dad all had to move to Georgia with their uncle. Lynn and Katie started to go to school in Georgia. Katie's mom had a baby boy. People didn't really like Lynn and Katie, but Lynne eventually made a friend. They started to do everything together. Lynn got really sick and couldn't go to school for a while. If you want to hear what happened you will just have to read the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
julie carr
This is a great book for ages 12 and up. Thisbook is sad and also entertaining. There are meany themes to this book. One of the themes of this book is don't take your life for granted. I connected with Lynn because she has a friend that makes her laugh. The setting of this book is in Iowa and in Georgia. I liked this book because it is intresting and I did not want to stop reading it. The plot of this story is realy intresting. It's a story about two Japanese girls moving from Iowa to Georgia. There where not a lot of parts i did not like. One part I did not like is when Lynn and Katie climbed on top of there roof and threw kleenx into the wind. I did not like this part becauce it was not really that important to the story. This book is good for people 12 and up. This book will draw you in. You can't stop reading this book because it is so good!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I realize that this book is written for a younger audience but I felt compelled to read it since my 11 year old niece urged me to do so. Being 1/2 Japanese I take a keen interest in stories that pertain to my own heritage. Also, my youngest daughter is actually named "Kira" so that also made it more intriguing.

I was surprised at how easily I was transported back in time and was able to relate to the story with my own life. When a story is able to touch you that way, you know it is written well.

It was difficult to put down and anytime I did, I was antsy to get back to the book to find out what unfolded. The story is incredibly touching and, in the end, you still want to hear more of the little girl's story.

I can't wait to read another book by the author!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jordan cash
I honestly have never felt so let down by a Newbery book. As an English teacher, I usually love them. But this story just does not ring true in so many places that I have to give it three stars. Had its editor done his/her job better, perhaps it could have earned more.

I live in GA, where the story is set, and my husband has had cancer, which one sister also fights. Granted, some of the scenes about Lynn's cancer and its wearing on her caregivers are very well-written; however, I think it was implausible that the sister who so desperately wants to see the ocean never does. I mean, in southwest Georgia, they would not have been more than 5 hours from the Atlantic and less than that from the Gulf. Also, some of the scenes crash into each other with no transition at all--it nearly drove me mad. Also, the ex-best friend would have come to the funeral. They always do.

Parts of it were excellent, but many parts were not. For desperate AR readers, however, I'm sure this would be a quick last-minute read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I really liked the book kira-kira and when I was near the end, I was about to cry because sweet Lynnie died. The incident of the milk and water is a good touch the author added to show how serious Lynnie's illness was and how the evil of the illness had almost taken over Lynn's body and how she was about to die soon. In the end, just before Lynn died, I thought it was touching that Lynn had spoke to her sister the last and how when she was in heaven, she would like to see Katie's grades improve. I am glad that the family went to the ocean to remember Lynn's last wishes (going to the sea or ocean). The family was strong and the parents knew that if one child died, they still had two more to take care of.Kira-Kira is glittering in the future!


I am glad the Newberry judges chose this book. Kira-Kira deserves it!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gyda arber
I am trying really hard to expand on my children's literature. To begin this huge task, I am starting off by reading any award winning books. To be very blunt, if this book has won an award as reputable as the Newbery, I'm not looking forward to reading one that DID NOT receive any awards. However, it is a message to anyone who blindly recommends children to read award winning books, simply because they are on some list...DON'T DO IT!!!

I am a very slow reader. I can tell if I'm going to like a book or not based on whether I'm excited to pick it up again and again and return to the story. Well, I read this book on and off from March until May! That speaks volumes to me anyways.

I really thought I'd be charmed by the story of Katie and her family's struggles through life as Japanese-Americans living in the south in the 1950s. How could you NOT feel compassion for this family after all they have gone through? Well, for me it was the fact that I simply didn't like Katie or really any other character in the book. I can't completely put my finger on why I felt this way, but I just found her to be irritating. Part of this is the fact that some of the things that Katie spoke of would not come from the voice of a child. It simply wasn't plausible. I also found that the author was trying far too hard to make Katie say things that were oh-so-cute. However, I didn't think they were cute, I thought they were annoying.

Also, as mentioned above, I had been putting this book down for a few days, then coming back to it. Each time I returned to the book, I really struggled to get a grasp on what was happening. I felt as though this book really didn't have a pleasing structure to it. Rather, it seemed like it was a mishmash of rambling memories. Even the format of the pages made it seem like there were no paragraphs (I know there were, but sometimes it SEEMED like there weren't).

I would have rated this book lower than I did, but I must say that toward the end, as Katie grew a little older, it did redeem itself slightly. When Lynn grew gravely ill, I felt sympathy for the family for the very first time. I am actually pleased to see that many reviewers in here did like this book. A prime example of how some things are certainly a matter of opinion. I however, would not want to read this book again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chassy cleland
Cynthia Kadohata's Kira-Kira is a gorgeous book. Dealing with adult themes such as injustice, death, and depression while still managing to keep a straightforward and easy to understand writing style, it really does sparkle like the title. With both humorous and touching moments, it was a moving and certainly worth-while read. I'd recommend this for slightly older readers, about 11 years or older, as I don't think much younger readers will appreciate it as well. I highly encourage buying this one. Very touching.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
How many of you read the begining of books and do not understand the beginning??Well me i read this book i didn't understand it..But once you get into this book you will understand it.....The book i read was kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata....The book is about two girls katie and lynn.

When katie was little her sister lynn taught her how to say kira-kira,which means glitering in japanese. When they got older katie 7 and lynn 10 ,they moved because in iowa,where they lived,people left and they were not getting money from here buissnes......The main conflict was they were not making enought money...A few chapters into the story,Lynn gets very sick and katie tries to make her fell better....

I recommend this book To 5th to 12th graders because it was a very interestingb book.....
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was really touching. I have to admit that I was balling by the end of it. It really kept me entralled.

The story chronicles the life two Japenese-American girls living in the nineteen fifties. They are best friends, and they do every thing together. Katie, the youngest, looks up to Lynnie in every way. When Lynnie is diagnosed with cancer, and then dies, Katie realizes that she must carry out her sister's wishes and look for the kira-kira, anything good or special in her life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is the kind of book everyone can read. Compare it to Lord of the Rings; Awesome books, yet only older and more advanced readers can enjoy it because younger ones won't understand it. Now look at Kira-Kira. A touching, wonderful story. Yet it is written in a way that any one can understand. A second grader could sit down and read it and enjoy it. This book is very good but very sad, too. Whether you're a twelve-year-old kid like me, an adult, or even a first grader, you will really enjoy this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
grigory ryzhakov
Kira- Kira is about two Japenese girls whose family moves from Iowa to Georgia. They move into an apartment building where all the other Japenese people live. Soon Lynn gets sick with anemea and has to go to the hospital. When she comes home from the hospital she gets sick again with lyphoma. She dies from lyphoma when she was in her bed. The family has a funural for her and Katie gives a speech about Lynn

I give this book five stars because the characters are believable. The words are descriptive. It was the perfect length. I really recommend it for girls around age eleven or twelve.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Life in the 1950's was hard on ethnic groups. One such case is the Japanese family Takeshima. Kira-Kira was written from the daughter Katie's perspective. When Katie and her family move to Georgia she feels bad that she is moving away from her home in Iowa and all of the memories there. Will it be worth it for Katie and her family to move, or will she regret going and feel sad? Read Kira-Kira to find out if Katie overcomes her apprehension and makes new memories and friends. I really liked this book and thought it was saddening, although it was a sad book it was also a great book. I would recommend this book to people that really enjoy books that are based in the past and narrated from the characters personal memories.

The first reason I would recommend this book is because of its ethnic background portrayal rather than standard Caucasian. For example, the author decided to use a Japanese family unlike most writers. Another example is that the author had logical statistics on the approximate number of Japanese families in Georgia at the time. One last example is that the lifestyle is that of a poor ethnic family.

The second reason I would recommend this book is because of its creativity. One such example is the creativity of the names such as Takeshima and Marumuto. Another example is the descriptive imagery like the rolling fields and the corn fields in Iowa swaying in the breeze. The final example is the always changing personalities of the characters depending on what is happening.

The last reason I would recommend this book is for its storyline. Such as the time that Katie made a new friend at a hatchery. Another time is that Lynn Katie's older sister) gets farther and farther away from Katie and then they grow back together. One last time is when Katie's dad gets angry at his boss for having taps on his property where Lynn, Katie, and Sam (their younger brother) go and have a picnic and Sam gets hurt.

I would recommend this book to all readers that enjoy narrated books from a character's perspective with a saddening twist. This book was very enjoyable and I had a hard time setting it down. My mother even got a little upset that she had to tell me several times to set the book down to do my chores. This book will make the reader mesmerized so as to make them not set it down until it has been completed. If you liked this book then you must have read the entire thing pages at a time.

N. Koester
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrei basoc
Kira-kira is beautiful. I felt as though I was standing there, beside her, the entife time. Her pain and emotion is clear throughout the entire book, and her feelings are evident.
While her sister lays dying, Katie experiences a whirl-wind of emotions, promise, and self discovery. She learns about herself through everything around her. We hear the untold tale of asian-americans in the 1960's, and the prejudice against them.
This is a beautiful story, and well worth the Newberry.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amy wilson
it seemed the story would never end! i mean, there's barely a plot. apologies to cynthia kadohata, but, why did she have to put in the inappropriate stuff, like, when they were playing scrabble and when uncle katsuhisa and auntie went into the tent.


i think that "kira-kira" was sort of a bust for a Newbery Medal of 2005. i think the author is proud, but some people think, or in other words, me, think this book was a downright bust.

the only exciting thing was when lynn died.

and some parts of the story were just plain cruel.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I still read my 8-year old bedtime stories. This gives me the chance to spend extra time with her, as well as to introduce her to books she wouldn't choose for herself but would nevertheless enjoy (e.g. Gogol's "Evenings on a Farm in Dikanka").

I bought "Kira Kira" with the intention of reading at bedtime, but reading it myself made me decide to put it on the shelf for a least another few years. No, I don't believe in shielding my children from all grief and sadness. However, dumping depressing stories on my daughter as she drifts off into dreamland seems sadistic. It's not that the book is not engaging or well written, it's that the book is not appropriate for an 8-year old. I'll suggest it to her when she's a teen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
miranda moen
I really liked this book. The author has great descriptions, and I felt like I could relate to the characters. Of course, there's the younger sister who wants things to stay the same, and the older one who just changes with time. This is one of those books that truly makes you cry. People call some books tearjerkers, when they aren't all that sad. But this book ... it made me cry and think. It gave me a different outlook on things. Life is short. This book will remind you of that. I recommend this one. It'll show you that there can be sad endings, but all in all, your world can still be kira-kira (shining).
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
cosmic dwellings
In defense of the Newbery committee (and I'm not on the committee, though I have been in children's publishing for a long time), books chosen for the Newbery must be released during a certain time frame (which explains the mad dash to get books done by a certain date) and (I'm pretty sure) cannot be initially published in a different country. That being said, perhaps it is true that Kira-Kira was the best out of the lot from which to choose. Perhaps all the better ones missed the cut-off date or were published in another country first. Or maybe what one person thinks as being fine fiction is another person's trash. For example, no matter how many times I read it, I can't get past page 1 of the Tales of Desperaux. It bores me to tears. But I don't think Kira-Kira is outstanding writing, either. It's by an adult writer who wrote a children's book, using adult language and from an adult point of view. Is it formulaic? Yes. But then again, what isn't? All across publishing, a majority of books published ARE formulaic. You have the story of a wizard and a quest and overcoming some great evil. You have the classic oppressed/suppressed geek who finally has his or her day. It's not JUST a question of whether something is formulaic or not; we have to take into consideration of how it is presented. There are plenty of exceptions, of course. Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion, and E. R. Frank's America are fine examples of books that "break the formula." I think you should decide for yourself if Kira-Kira was worthy of the medal. In any case, it'll give you something to do.

On a whole, Kira-Kira is not as glittering as it could be. It has a lot of potential, but Kadohata took what could have been a brilliant book and made it a little bit dull. The language is pretty though may prove to be uninteresting at times, and though predictable, the book is worth at least the effort of reading. In paperback, anyway.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer davies
This is the most heart warming story ever. This is about a girl named Katie and her sister Lynn. They are very close sisters and seem to never fight at all. Trouble comes day by day while living in their new town. But the worst one is one day, Lynn misses school and gets serverly ill. Katie gets very worried about her sister. I would be soo worried to if my sister was sick. this book was so sad that i nearly cried. I soo recomend this book to girls who are going through things like this. This book is two thumbs up!! woo!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
KIRA-KIRA is a wonderful book about loss. As an adult, I really enjoyed the novel. I can see how this book could be disliked by certain kids. It is a bit depressing, but life can be depressing. It depends on how one looks at it. KIRA-KIRA does make me appreciate what I have, and I think other readers will feel the same way. The quality of the storytelling is excellent, and one really cares about the characters.

There are students that will love this book. I am a teacher and have heard some talk about this novel from them. It has been favorable. This is a quality piece of work! Recommended!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
olga imas
Sorry to say this. But most of Japanese people should know the truth of thier shameful faults in history. I can not understand why the author put the name " Takeshima" to the Japanese-American family's last name. I doubt if it is the author's intention. Dokdo(What Koreans call )but not Takeshima(what she calls) is very controversial between South Korea and Japan. It's true that Dokdo is a Korean territory in the light of Korean history and Japanese history. Even though many Japanese people madly and insanely persist that Dokdo is Japanese territory because it had been owned once in their history of the Japanese colonial era. Speaking of its truth, precisely it had been "stolend" by Japaneese Empire at the time from colonized Korea. Therefore, Japan has no right to say that Dokdo is theirs at all. However, they are still doing everything to make other nations misunderstand it might be Japanese by foul means or by getting rid of and distorting some main historical facts about Dokdo from thier history textbooks for young Japanese students. Let it be! History can not be distorted any more. Please get rid of your blindfolds of the specter of Japanese imperialism and colonialism. Accept the turth that Dokdo was Korean territory, it still is, and it will be forever. No doubt, No more argument! No more absurd!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I am usually never a huge fan of Newberry books as weird as that may sound. They are normally old and boring. But this booked changed my mind. I saw this book on my teacher's book shelf and took it off to read because i thought it looked good. I began to read it and couldnt put it down! This book is aobout a japanese girl and her life with her sister and family. It makes you trhink and is a wonderful read. I recomend this to any ages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ramiro rodriguez
I first read this book when I was in middle school. I loved it then and I still love it now. As an intensive reading teacher I have it in my classroom and it has never failed to go home with a student. This is a great book for girls, particularly those with siblings, since the story is all about the relationship between the two sisters with a good dose of real life issues This is a great book to get kids thinking past their worldview.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
this book is my favorite book in the whole entire world. and i have read lots and lots of books. this book is so sad but also has its halarious moments i recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a book they just don't want to put down. when i have to put this book down my heart sinks, i never want to put this book down, its so amazing!!!!! if you just read a book that is to complecated or to easy or just a book you really hated and you need a really good book, you just found it, kira-kira! this was a fantastic with so many emotions inside it book, you need to get it. please do, tell me you will i am not a liar this book rules!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kira- Kira is a book that once I picked it up, I couldn't stop reading. Even if it is a bit depressing, it shows great character from the family and bravery through out the whole book. Although the book does have some inappropriate scenes for ages 10 and below, I definitely recommend this book. Once you start it, you will get hooked on it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna kendig
When I read this book, I thought that it was a very good book. I couldn't stop myself from reading it and I think you should read it too. I recomend this book. It was very sad and it was very emotional. Even though the story is not a true story, somehow you feel like it is a true story and that means that the author wrote this book well. I hope that if you do read it you will enjoy reading it and I hope you do read this book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
naomi rawlings
When I look back over the winners of the Newbery award, I look very carefully at the runners-up -- these are the ones that usually last. But I always give the winner a chance. In the case of Kira-Kira, I found myself almost putting it on my syllabus for the Children's Literature course I'm teaching next semester (at a college). But then I pulled it off. Why? Because I was teaching it for all of the wrong reasons -- the labor conditions of the time; the treatment of immigrants; the nastiness of chicken hatcheries; the question of unionization. In other words, I wasn't going to teach it as much of a book for children at all.

When I looked at this book carefully, I realized that I had put it down too frequently; that I had dreaded the slow death of the older sister (who dies like Ali MacGraw in Love Story); that I wondered why the children didn't work and where they got their pennies and what-not. What I had on my hands was a book where a nice girl dies slowly of cancer - while surrounded by ISSUES. I wanted to teach children's literature, not literature of issues dressed up as children's literature. I suggest giving this a pass. It's very depressing, and I don't even think it's supposed to be.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Set against the backdrop of the 1950's South, kira-kira tells the story of a first generation Japanese family struggling to improve their lives in a new culture. The story is told from the perspective of Katie, the Takeshima's younger daughter, who is cared for by her older sister Lynn as their parents work long, grueling hours to support the family. Much like the narrative of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, the youth and naivety of Katie's perspective belies the complexities of her family dynamic and the community in which they live. Lynn is aware of the racism that is present in her town of Chesterfield, Georgia, and she attempts to enlighten her younger sister to this while simultaneously protecting her from its impact. Pointing out that some of the children at the predominantly white school they attend will not want to play with Katie, Lynn tries to explain the reason for this exclusion. In a humorous but heart-breaking internal monologue, Katie wrestles with this idea. "Who wouldn't want to know me? This was a new idea for me. Our father had always thought we were quite amazing, and Lynn, of course, had always thought I was perfect, so I thought of myself as rather amazing and maybe even perfect." While Katie idolizes her older sister Lynn and sees her as an all-knowing, beautiful genius, the special bond the sisters share becomes strained as the girls grow older and Lynn starts to make other friends at school. The book's title comes from the Japanese word glittering, or shimmering, which is how Katie views her older sister. Because Lynn has been Katie's primary caregiver throughout her life, Katie has always seen the world through Lynn's eyes, and Lynn's enthusiasm and drive has made the world a magical place. When Lynn becomes ill and their parents are driven to work increasingly long hours to pay the medical bills, Katie must draw upon her own strengths and skills to cope with losing the sister who has always taken care of her. Beautifully written and executed, this book is highly recommended for children ages eleven and older. Adults will enjoy this book as well.

- Ann M., A Library Student
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
geordie jones
From the perspective of an elementary school librarian, I was disenchanted with "Kira-Kira" as the latest (2004) Newbery Award winner for several reasons. My main objection was the language. It seemed totally unnecessary to the story to include using profanity. The words added nothing and were used at a rather pointless time--not at the death of a child, but naming stars!

When I purchase books for my students (K-5), purchasing Newbery Award books as well as Caldecott Award books is high on my list of "must haves" and "Kira-Kira" isn't as age appropriate to the upper grades even though the reading level is fourth grade. This book will require parental permission for the reference to a paragraph devoted to making babies and another paragraph about French kissing.

I'm not certain what the criteria is for selecting award winners, but it would be nice to choose books that can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. And it would be wonderful for books to be uplifting and joyous. Yes, multicultural is fine but let's not choose it because it is female oriented and covers diversity. That makes the coveted Newbery Award a bit too politically correct.

Even though well crafted and poignant, it misses the mark of an award winner in my estimation and I will never purchase another Newbery or Kadohata book without borrowing it from my local library first (if they have it).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
laura wallace
What an extraordinary novel--it features a working class, Japanese-American family living in rural Georgia at the dawn of desegregation and the Civil Rights movement. I savored it for its portrayal of ethnic markers and lifestyle. You are blessed if you have a Lynnie in your life.

The prose is exemplary; the theme of recognizing and celebrating the value of even the simple things in life is uplifting. Characters are portrayed with their flaws and their spirit to be noble.

Don't let the snobbish cynics in customer's reviews here who have tossed aspersions about the merit or quality of this writing tug on you. Cynthia Kadahata has written a champion for children as well as for readers of all ages.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I enjoyed reading Kira-Kira. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars because it could be a little dull at times. Other times it was pretty exciting. It's about Katie and Lynne, who are sisters and best friends. When they move from Iowa to Georgia, their friendship is put to the test. Especially when Lynne gets sick, and becomes very irritable. It's a sad book with a bittersweet ending. I recommend this book if you're not looking for anything funny.

A 6th Grader From Madison
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This was a sweet story set in the 60's in the deep South, when discrimination against Japanese Americans we still in full swing. My favorite part of the story was the relationship between the two sisters. It's a model of family loyalty and love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rune bergh
Kira Kira is a heartwarming and fantastic book! It makes you feel thankful for what you have! I recommend it to kids within the ages of 9-14. I was told by a friend that Kira Kira was a great book and so I decided to give it a try!!! I don't know about u but I am a very picky reader and if I dislike even the begining I most likly won't finish! Enough about me...If you like to read sad book that send you into tears make sure you go 2 the the nearest book store and pick Kira Kira.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book was so good that I read it in 2 days! Using it to do my book report as well. We have to make a movie poster. This book would make a great movie don't you think? I do suggest not reading chapter thirteen in public. (Sorry that was kind of a spoiler alert!)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gray mason
I got kira-kira for my eleventh birthday, and I started reading it almost imediatley.I am in fifth grade and I enjoyed the book, though it was rather sad and depressing near the end. It is a great story, and I won't spoil the book for anyone by providing spoilers. I have to say I would reccomend this book for ages thirteen and up(or for people that can understand emotions, and know that you can't live on one event forever); not a book for small children. After a quick but excellent read, I give kira-kira 4 out of 5 stars.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This book is more for a person who enjoys reading historical fiction novels; since I'm not one of those people I didn't like this particular novel very much. The organizational structure of this book made it hard to understand, and you had to stop and think about it often. The book was a little confusing at first, but at the end of the book it started to make a little more since then it did in the beginning. At first it would talk about the troubles that the Japanese family encountered while trying to move to Georgia, then it talked about the conflicts while in Georgia, then it only talked about the older sister, Lynn, having cancer and how she died. I had a hard time grasping what was going on most of the time. It was also very slow-paced. I thought that the end of the story was better than the whole rest of it, because it was a little bit quicker moving, and also stayed on one topic. This novel is a little sad, because Lynn died toward the end of the book, and the little sister had to do everything on her own after Lynn passed away. Her parents who were already working two jobs, had a even harder time dealing with Lynn's passing. They all eventually made it through and had a happy ending, even without Lynn.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
peter dobey
I read this book for a Children's Lit course I'm taking. I really enjoyed the book. With the style the author uses to narrate the story (first person and child-like rambling), its believable that a child is actually telling the story.

However, I have to agree with the previous review. It's definitely not for children, but for young adults. (It would be an excellent book to read in a Middle/High school class and use as a tool for class discussion on prejudice, family, death, religion, etc.)

And I really found nothing humorous about the book (one of the review said it was homorous), but rather compassionate and depressing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lianne barnard
This story complements the book because it's an extrodinary adventure between two Japanese sisters. Katie is a rebelious child. Her sister Lynn is the opposite, straight A's student.

Although they are not alike they bond with camping,gazing at stars. Kira kira is the book for you. It's emotional twist at the end is a good ballence between. When you read the book Kira Kira a happy story can keep your eyes in the book. Read this it is great!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brenda noonan
i loved Kira- Kira. It was a fantastic book about a girl named Katie, her older sister/best friend Lynn and her little brother Sammy. This book is very emotional about how Katie feels. When Lynn dies her world as she knows it comes to an end and everything around it too. This is one of my favorite books and would recommend this for eleven and up.So read this book!!!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I recomend Kira Kira it is sad in some parts but you won't regret it. Kira kira means glittering. Lynn, Katie's sister taught her Kira Kira. It means glittering and sparkling. It is about a girl and her sister and thier family who moves to Georgia. Her sister caught a dreadful illess and dies and her family falls apart. She needs to tell her family kira kira is in the future.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
the death of lynn in this story is poorly discribed. i didn't like kira-kira. lynn had big hopes and dreams, which i can relate to, and always wanted to see the ocean. what made me mad was @ the last chapter of the book, katie, her brother, and their parents all go to the ocean because it was what lynn would have wanted. so suddenly, they get enough $$ to go to california to see the pacific. WHY ON EARTH DIDN'T THEY DO THAT WHILE LYNN WAS ALIVE!!!!!! THEY ALL KNEW THE GIRL WAS DYING!!!!!!! and if they're still paying medical bills, did they suddenly get rich to travel????? this book was somewhat annoying.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
hamidreza hosseini
Katie and Lynn Takeshima are not only sisters, they are best friends. They love to run and play in the fields that surround their Iowa home, and they love to find things that are kira-kira, or glittering and shining.

A move to Georgia put a strain on the Takeshima family. Even though fifteen years have past since World War II, the family does not find a ready welcome in their new home. It becomes harder and harder to find anything that is kira-kira, especially when Lynn starts feeling dizzy and sick all the time.

A bit slow-moving at times, Kadohata's first children's novel is a stunning story with heart-rending characters. Despite its Newbery distinction, the best audience for this book is probably older middle-school readers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kira-kira is a wonderful, five star rated book by Cynthia Kadokata.

To me this book was extremely meaningful and really showed you how much hardship a family can go through. This Japanese family with a mother, father, and two daughters went from owning a nice store and renting a lovely home to having a sick daughter and a new son living in a rundown apartment building. The town they move to is prejudiced, so it's very hard for them and the other Japanese to get jobs. The jobs they do get are extremely poor and gross.

One of my favorite characters was Katie and Lynn's dad. No matter what happened or how people treated him he was almost always calm and polite. The only time he got upset was when his son, Sam, got hurt.

Lynn was another character I really enjoyed. She was a smart and responsible girl. Most of all though she was brave. When they moved she was brave and positive about it. Lynn was the one who told Katie they were leaving. She was the one who told Katie why people treated them badly. Lynn Takeshima sends you a special message in this book. The night she died, the last thing she wished was to be like the carefree moth, happily buzzing around her room. I think sometimes we all want to take flight and forget our worries. That's what I got from this wonderful book.

Two other books I enjoyed are Riding Lessons and Flying Chances by Sara Gruen because they also show you how awful life can be sometimes, but that it works out in the end. I am a horse lover.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brewin brewin
I picked up this book at a bookstore one day when I was browsing. I took it home, watched some TV, then opened it up at 9 PM. I was up until 11 PM. I just could not put it down. Cynthia Kadohata has an incredibly captivating writing style, that simply pulls you in. Fans of books such as "Ashes of Roses" and "Esperanza Rising" will adore this poignant novel. Katie's sweet, naive, and attentive nature is one that all girls can relate to.

One thing that struck me about this book, is that unlike in most stories about an older and younger sister, where the older is considerably brighter than the other, Katie feels no jealousy, nor anger towards her sister.

The moments between Lynn and Katie are priceless, and no girl should be without this book. It will make you see the world in a different way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
brian lehnen
I really enjoyed this book. I felt really bad for Katie when she had to move from her home that she grew up in and how her parents were losing all of their money. Then she became the third wheel whenever her sister Lynn brought her friend Amber along.I would love to say more, but I don't want to give anything away. Overall this was a wonderful book and I enjoyed a lot.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caila darche
Kira-kira is a great book about a girl who's family is going through a depressing time after they find out that her sister is gravely ill. She deals with having few friends, never seeing her parents and her sister's illness getting worse every day. This book is wonderful because you feel as if you are in Katie's shoes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Very compelling coming of age story about a young Japanese American girl during the 1950's. There is a little bit of everything: Japanese culture, American History, Racism, Death. The writer's style is eloquently simple but satisfying. This is not a story just for kids, either. (I'm 39 and I loved it)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gabriella juarez
Kira-Kira deals with real issues that many people have. (such as being poor and being discriminated against) It is very sad, and the main character seems to be struggling with many things, such as saving for a house for her sick sister and passing in school. She is a very real character and feels like an actual person.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jack binns
After reading Kira-Kira,I had found my new favourite author. Kadohata had touched both myself and a good friend of mine. My friend was in tears at the end of the book. I could understand why she wept for I too felt touched by Kadohata's book. Kadohata filled every chapter with such strong emotions and used such colourful vocabulary. Kadohata is surely one of the most amazing authors of all time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren b
I had read this book in 5th grade (currently in 6th) and enjoyed every bit of it. Everyone thinks this book is for teens but to me it was fine. It's true the book does get a bit depressing, still it goes at a good pace and its not boring at all. Newberys never lie, i reccomend this book for 9 up though
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This book may help young people to learn about an experience unlike their own (for example, the experience of being a racial/cultural minority in America, the experience of having parents who work in an industrial setting so severe that they are not permitted time to visit a restroom, or the horrific experience of having a sibling pass away). However - although this book is sensitively written - it seems that with all these situations, the net result is somewhat contrived and perhaps something that reviewers may have felt children *ought* to value or enjoy. Regrettably, many novels "for children" tend to be overly didactic or sentimental. I - as a grown-up - was entertained by this book, but as a child or a teen, I might have been put off if assigned by a teacher to read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommended it to all my friends - they, too, loved it. The voice is awesome, the plot is serious enough to keep a reader concerned, and I also learned some things about the Japanese-American experience. Entertaining, interesting, and educational - not much more to ask for!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kaitlynn france
I, a 13 year old, loved this book! It was so well written and thought out! I was so into the story that it almost made me cry! This book is so wonderful that I could'nt put it down and stayed up all night to finish it! I HIGHLY reccomend this book! Don't put this book down and not get it because people say it is innappropriate or depressing. It is only an inspirational book that will touch your heart and give you a great book to read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
At first, "Kira-Kira" didn't really seem like a good book. But when I began to read it, I couldn't put the book down! As good as it is, it is sad at the end. It is a really good book, and most likely someone else will find that it is a really good book!

With everything going on in the book, the protagoniost, Katie, goes through ups and downs. Life is easy for her then it's unbareable. That's what I liked in the book, it seemed that it was someone's real life that Katie was living because she has good times and bad times.

I would recommend this book for anyone 11 and up. I think it is four stars because of what happens in the end. It is a really great book, and I hope whoever reads it next will enjoy it as much as I did!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Kira-Kira will blow you away! This book is so great, you'll love this book and want to pass it on to friends and fam. By the time you're done with this book you'll want to read it again.The main point of this book is about a fams life and what happens. In the beginning of Kira-Kira - Katie & Lynn have so much fun together. Then their mother has a baby boy and names him Sammy. In the middle of the story, Lynn gets really sick, Katie & Sammy have to take care of her & sleep on the living room floor.I loved this book you will too. So buy the book or borrow the book but you've got to read somehow.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
The Newbery Award is a hit or miss situation since all they have to choose from are American authors who published in 2004. As a children's librarian, the bulk of my reading is children's material. From all the books I read in 2004, the ones I would point to that were very good were mainly not by Americans. kira-kira is a prime example of a borderline good novel that got chosen for the Newbery due to a lack of other good material out there. I personally would have chosen Al Capone Does My Shirts over kira-kira. Do children need another novel that talks about death and prejuidice? The prejuidice is one that is often overlooked--that of 1950's Japanese-Americans, which is a point in its favor. Other than that, I thought the story predictable, the main character very boring, and besides the death of the older sister, there is almost no plot to the story. If you want a historical fiction story about family and moving and prejuidice, you can try The Truth About Sparrows by Marian Hale and be rewarded with more character development and human interest than kira-kira.

Hopefully, teachers will pass up this Newbery Award winner for the plethora of choices that won that deserved it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kira- Kira has just recently become one of my two favorite books. As soon as I got it, I was ingulfed and read for two days sraight. The book was well written, easy to read, and I could relate to Katie and Lynn. It was fantastic! Besides its great humor and believable characters, the book was a nice tear jerker. It's a great read for any age or gender.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adrian white
"Kira Kira" written by Cynthia Kadohata takes place from 1951 to 1963 and is about a Japanese American family. The family has to move from Georgia to Iowa when their oriental food grocery store goes out of business. The story is told from their daughter "Katie's" point of view. Lynn who is the older sister taught Katie when she was very young that the Japanese word "kira kira" means glittering. By using the word "kira kira" Lynn teaches Katie a special way to look at the world.

As the story progresses the family faces several hardships. Discrimination, poor working conditions, loss of a babysitter, and poverty are just a few. Throughout their hard times they still dream of buying a house, and Lynn and Katie even begin saving their treat money to help.

As so often happens in real life, just when you think things can't get any worse you come face to face with an insurmountable obstacle. Lynn becomes very sick and is later diagnosed with lymphoma. She continues to weaken and her disease worsens. We then see true sisterly love as Katie steps up and begins caring for her. As Lynn reaches her final weeks her mother and father take out a loan to purchase a house. Lynn picks out the house and chooses a sky-blue house, the color Katie told her she wanted as a little girl. As Lynn dies the family falls apart and Katie remebers the "kira kira" her siter taught her as she puts the family back together.

As a sister myself, I really enjoyed reading "Kira Kira" because I was able to relate to the importance of family. The relationship of Katie and Lynn was truly heart warming. However, as an educator I would not let my elementary class read this book. It is my opinion that this story line is intended for an older audience because of the adult language, the talk about menstrutation, death, racism, and peer pressure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The book I picked was Kira-Kira by Cythnia Kadohata. It is a realistic fiction. It is about a girl named Katie. Her sister Lynn taught Katie her first word which was kira-kira, it mean "glittering" in Japanese.

I really liked this book. It was a very good book, but sad too.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ruby gonzalez
Kira-kira means glittering in Japanese, most things that glitter get the attention of the looker, and this book got my attention as the reader very quickly with a near-tragic meeting with a dog. Kira-Kira is the story, told through the words of Katie, a young Japanese-American girl, growing up in the 1950's in a small Georgia town, not overly populated with Japanese-Americans. Katie's story revolves around her family, with the main focus on her sister, Lynn, who she adores and believes is a genius. As is the case in life there are happy and sad times, just like this book where you can read about racial injustice,friendships,financial struggles,and a family's hopes, dreams, and losses.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
doug nelson
Kadohata is a very good writer - especially when it comes to characterization. This story is touching and well-told. That said, this is really not a children's book - it is written in memoir style and probably best understood by adult readers. The treatment of Japanese Americans in the workplace, death of a sibling, unionization, and a reference to parental sexual activity can be overwhelming material for children. Perhaps the Newbery terms & criteria need to be adjusted, maybe 0-12 is a better age group for children's lit awards
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
frances myers
Great book! This book contains good messages of being honest, working hard, standing up for your rights, and recognizing what is important in life... like relationships and small things. My kids typically love suspenseful action stories and not slower paced stories, but this one kept them focused and listening. I highly recommend it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melisende d upheaul
This is a touching book about 2 sisters in a difficult time period in our history. There is great sadness over Lynn's illness and death but there is joy in the relationship the 2 girls have and the determination of Katie to carry on the way her sister would have wanted her to.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Emotional,heart-touching, and interesting all explain the book Kira-Kira. A young girl Katie the main character has many problems throughout the entire book. As her sister becomes sick her family starts to fall apart. Sam is a young, energetic, and fun little guy, his sister and him share a lot of moments together. What'll happen at the end of this marvelous book? You won't know unless you buy it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
dana galder
The plot of the story is hard to grasp: is it attempting to adapt in a Georgian home? Is is being a Japanese girl in the 1960s? Is is the relationship between Katie, the teller of Kira-Kira, and the older sister, Lynn? Is it Lynn's disease? Is it Lynn's death?

There are SO MANY insignificant scenes is this story that have nothing to do with the outcome, and so many characters that mean nothing to the story. Even when Lynn died, Katie's feelings were vaguely expressed in the story; simple, like "I cried", and how her lifestyle changed without the constant support of her sister is never explained. Also, Lynn develops cancer at the beginning of one chapter, and by the end of that same chapter she's dead, which is too quick of a death. And before the development of the disease, the author doesn't make her symtoms seem very serious. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought Lynn had something simple and common, like a cold or headache. And even when Lynn was becoming sick, the author doesn't dive very deep into how Katie feels about her sister's illness. She (Kadohata) barely mentions before the diagnosis how serious this could become.

Poorly written, with bad discription and meaningless, dragging scenes. When reading Kira-Kira, I thought that many of the characters in the story would play a part in the end, when they never did. And the sterotyping of the Japanese is rarely discribed, when I thought that there would be more discription on the suffering Japanese had to endure, especially since the book takes place only about a decade after WWII.

Simply, Kira-Kira didn't diserve the Newbery. It belongs to an author with better and more practiced writing skills.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
real supergirl
This story is both funny and sad. It's historical fiction and takes place in the 1960s. The story is a about a Japanese family living in America, and how the struggle every day to stay alive. The main focus is on one of the daughters, name Katie, and her relationship with her older sister Lynn. The family moves from Iowa to Georgia so the parents, and just when things seem to be going well, tragedy strikes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This beautiful story addresses so many hard aspects of a young girls life. Her sister, whom she loves more than anything. Her parents want for a house. Her mother's awful life in the factory. False friends. A baby brother. Happiness, joy, pain, sorrow, saddness. The death of a loved one. Every pain you've ever felt, every joy there has ever been. All your experiences in ths one young girl's life. A beautiful story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kira-Kira was one of the best book I had ever read in my entire life! Some parts were funny, some were sad, and lots more!!! I would definetily give this book a five star. Now I'm crazy for other books that cynthia kadohata has for me to read next!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
emily mcadoo
Kira-Kira was one of the best book I had ever read in my entire life! Some parts were funny, some were sad, and lots more!!! I would definetily give this book a five star. Now I'm crazy for other books that cynthia kadohata has for me to read next!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
My teacher read us this book and we finished it just a week ago. I did not like it very much. It was extremely good until about the last one-hundred pages, when it got really depressing. You knew from the beginning that Lynn was going to die (when it started saying how much Katie loved her) but I didn't think that the story would get THAT sad. I mean, this is an eleven year old we're talking about who is depressed. Pretty lame. The parents didn't care for Katie OR Sammie at all, and that was sad. The end was a total letdown. You think they would do something like Katie went to college to fulfill Lynns dream and became a successful lawyer, stock broker, NASA person, etc., put all it said was that the family went to the Pacific Ocean and were sad. When you finish it you're like "It's over?" because it kind of ends really quickly, like the author was in a rush to finish it or something. I was really disappointed in it, because it was a really, really good book until the very end. I don't recommend it unless you like stories with a sad ending. "Kira-Kira" doesn't have a happily ever after. It could have, but it doesn't.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
candace schaddelee
Kira-Kira is a marvelous book. We learn about her struggles with her life. Her older sister Lynn is very sick. Her younger brother is very young. She is left in charge of her siblings. This is a fantastic book about her struggles.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa young
I read this book in less than 3 hours, that is how good it was! I thought that it was a very happy and sad book at the same time, it was telling the story of a girl named Katie and her sister named Lynne. They lived in a rented home in Iowa and they moved down to Georgia when Katie was about six, and this story ends with a horrific tragedy five years later. Read more to find out!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When you buy Kira-Kira, don't give it to a 3rd grader and expect them to enjoy it. This is a book for older readers, mature 6th graders might like it, older readers might like it. It isn't a book for everyone. Action and adventure are not a part of this book, rather this book is about growing up in a family that has various family type troubles, including a death in the family. I found this book quietly beautiful.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bryan grover
I've read many of the Newbery award books. I've loved them all-until Kira-Kira. It's the story of a poor Japanese family who move from Iowa to Georgia so their parents can work. The parents work all the time, and then, to make it worse, the narrator's sister, Lynn gets sick and dies. It's depressing and isn't helped by the fact that the narrator, Katie, is very uninteresting and flat. There are plenty more GOOD Newberys out there. Go get them instead. (Tale of Despereaux ROCKS!)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I thought the book was an excellent rendering of life in south Georgia, in a small community, unused to any "different" groups, but the relationship between the sisters was so lovely, it made me sorry I wasn't a better big sister!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is a good story though sad, endearing, and occasionally a little depressing. Themes continuously repeated throughout the book are acceptance, loyalty, and family. It is good writing and though it is a shorter, easier read, touches on more adult-ish subjects. I would recommend it for 12 and over at least.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is one of the most beautifully written books about the experiences of émigrés I've ever read -- and I am an émigré. Poetry meshes nicely with the heartbreaking story, and with the sensibility of a little girl narrator. Great reading for both parents and children alike!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sanguinaura bloodstone
I read a book called Kira-Kira.The book was about a Japanese family dealing with life in a new environment.

I loved how Lynn taught Katie so much about life. Also I loved how Katie described things so well.

I think others would love this book because it teaches people how Japanese people lived in the 50's.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa anne
Kira-kira is a heartwarming story of two sisters. It depicts two girls, who are good friends, move to a new state. It is a beautiful tale that is very well written with the younger sister telling about her experiences - good and bad - with her sibling. Her sister gets sick and dies. Heartbreaking but a very good book. Good for kids ten years of age and up.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I think this book was very good because of its ending. In the beginning it wasn't all that interesting. The ending had events that happened quickly then the beginning. I really like how they described the look in Lynn s eyes before she died then what Katie knew she was thinking about. I also liked the part about the picnic they had. I recommend this book to girls more then boys, and for young teens.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jim heivilin
I had to read Kira-Kira for a school project and am glad I did. It was a great book and very well written. After the first half, I couldn't put it down and will definately read it again. It really showed me how unfair racisism is through the eyes of Japanese American, Katie.

Some selective parts aren't suitable for younger or immature people, but for me it was just fine. I have to admit the end did choke me up but I loved it just the same... 4 stars for tearing me up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie dennis
Wow! I can't believe what a great book it was. I thought it was really great because of all the things the author put into writing this incredible book. I read this book four times so far and each time the book surprises me more and more. I think everybody should read it and get to raed an excellent book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
leilah bernstein
I am sometimes a little aprehensive about Newberry Award winning books because frequently they do not live up to the hype. However, I really enjoyed reading this book. It gave a lot of information as to what it was like to be a Japanese immigrant in the United States. Lynn's disease and ultimate death were also dealt with in a very compasionate way. I teach in the middle school and believe this book will really appeal to my young female readers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Why is my title Kira-Kira, well because when Katie(the main character) was little her older sister Lynn taught her that word. Ever since then Katie has thought of everything as Kira-Kira.(glittering in Japanese) Katie grew up listening to her sister and doing whatever she told her to. When they move to Georgia Katie faces discrimination, a new baby brother, and her sisters illness. I would suggest this book to people who love realistic stories, also to those happy ending readers. People from the ages of 10 on will love this book. I did!!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joan lee
I decided to read this book in college during a Children's Literature course. It was my first award winner since childhood, so I wasn't sure what to expect. All I can say is WOW!!! Several of other college students also read the book and had the same reaction. It's absolutely beautifully written, witty, and a down-right awesome book. Now as a teacher, I have recommended this book to several of my students! You just can't go wrong with reading this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say that Cynthia Kadohata's Newbery winner "Kira-Kira" is a book that you either love or a book that you loathe to the fullest. Well, I'm a thirteen-year old and I enjoyed it to the fullest. And what really bugs me is that it is ADULT reviewers who are saying this book is too depressing for children. ADULT! Have you people ever heard of Bridge to Terabithia. It was just as depressing, if not more (though, brilliant I might add). I'm not even gonna mention last year's Olive's Ocean.

I'm a reader and fan of E. Bird's reviews, but she's got this one all wrong (well, except for maybe the bear trap part). Thank you the store, for letting a teen vent!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
i have read loads of books in my ten years of life ive read the uglies trilogy the twilight saga and so on so forth but ive never read a book where i was hysterical crying. ive read books where people die sure but she was a good\main charactor die. i loved it and i hated the ending the wind was saying kira kira oh come ON isnt that so sad! but i loved it anyway
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jewlie williams
This Newbery winner will appeal to few young people, and be detested by many. There is no suspense, no "what will happen next?" in Kira-Kira. It also sounds strikingly similar to the author's 1989 novel for adults. According to the reviews at the store, The Floating World is narrated by a young girl in a Japanese-American family in the 1950's searching for a home and ends up in the south, where the adults work in a chicken-sexing factory, and there is a death in the family. Why foist this story onto young readers? Is dumbed-down 1980's women's literary fiction really "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" the Newbery committee could find for the year 2004? I'm sorry to sound harsh. I don't fault the author; she had every right to write and publish this book, and perhaps some girls will like it. But I do think the Newbery committee blew it this year, and that's a shame. Nancy Farmer's "The Sea of Trolls" deserved to win the award. It's a classic-in-the-making.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mostafa antr
I thought this book was excellent. I finished reading it in two days and loved it. It shows children the way to cope with the world and what it holds for you. I read this book for a project and I was really glad I chose it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
tracy owens
I rated kira kira, a book by Cynthia Kadohata, one star.

I gave this book one star because it is so depressing. It doesn't have any action. The only good parts are when they share their feelings, and I only like that because I like to try and relate to the character, one of the better parts is when Katie is trying to find help for Sam. "I hated being alone. I loved having a brother and a sister. I did not even like walking alone half a block from the house to the mailbox. When my parents asked me to mail something, I always took Sam with me." Even then it was still depressing.

With Lynn sick and her parents constantly working to pay her hospital bill, you can tell someone will die. This book has to much depression and anguish. Although this book does have a wide variety of emotions, like the happiness in this excerpt. "My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: Kira-Kira." Kira-Kira also has anger, and fustration. "She looked hurt for a moment, but then she got angry.

She said, (I want milk!) I said, (NO!) (I hate you!) (I hate you!) Sammy said, (Katie?) (Shut up!) I snapped at him, and he was still."

I wouldn't recomend this book to action lovers, but I would recomend these: The Hobbit, Al Capone Does my Shirts, and Hoot.

Student at Harris Road Middle. Baseball player
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
aimee long
I did like reading this book very much. The story was real. It was well written and I was hooked. I agree that it contains some topics that may be better for older kids- 5th grade and middle school.

I was surprised, however, that it is a Newberry winner. I just didn't think it was an amazing, memorable book.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
stephanie middleton
Okay, I don't get it, how the Newbery Committee comes up with its winners. This book is long, dull, and grinding. I'm angry about this selection. The writing is nice, but writing doesn't make a story. I can say that I read two to three books that should've won EVERYTHING, unlike this one. Most of all, The Willoughby Spit Wonder, by Jonathon Fuqua, is funny, sad, uplifting, and an absolutely great work that should be in every bookstore. Come on, isn't the Newbery supposed to find works for young adults, not adults? They need to do their work and find books that excite us. Kira-Kira doesn't. So, go out and find your own masterpieces. I've found mine and highly recommend it. You can no longer count of the Newbery Committee to come up with the books we want.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Kira-Kira is a story about a young Japanese girl named Katie and her sister Lynn. When her sister gets very sick it is Katie's job to keep her family together. I thought that it was a little too sad at the end. However Cynthia Kadohata gives excellent descriptions, and the story line and theme are interesting. I would recommend this book to 10-12 year old GIRLS. I rated Kira-Kira with three stars because overall I thought it was a good book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
juliana es
This was a sad book. When Katie's family moves from Iowa to Georgia her sister, whom she admires most, Lynn becomes very sick. It was very sad and moving and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice sad story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I can see why this book won the Newbery Award. It's a great story about two sisters and their relationship. They are very close to each other. It's interesting, also, to see the discrimination against Japanese-Americans at the time of this story. I would definitely recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I thought Kira-Kira was a great book. It is one of my favorite books. I thought it was funny, sad, and happy too. I really liked it. I think this is one of my favorite books.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
brook stargazer
I'm definitely not the right audience here: it's a sad story, but the writing is far too young for an adult.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
k rlis s manis
Here's the formula: 1 part politically correct message (instead of racism against blacks in the south or racism against Japanese in the west, here we get an entirely new approach -- racism against Japanese in the south) plus 1 part disease of the month (lymphoma) plus 1 part non-western ethnicity = Newbery award. Let me quote a recent article by the Director of Research at the National Endowment for the Arts lamenting the decline of reading, especially among boys: "Both boys and girls are unlikely to choose books based on an 'issues' approach, and children are not interested in reading about ways to reform society." Why hasn't the Newbery committee figured this out? This year's award should have gone to Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer, a book that neither boys nor girls can put down. Wake up, Newbery committee, or you will find yourself deemed irrelevant by readers out here.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
WOW!!!!!!!!! Kira kira is a heartbreaking but heartwarming book. I own a paperback edition of this book and I loved it. It always makes me cry even though you know what is going to happen. It's a predictable story,and I love that!!I would recommend this Book to ages 10 to 100!!!! Thank you ,- haliey :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rachel spohn
I picked this book up at random while I was in college and loved every page. In the end, it made me cry.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent condition! Exactly as stated.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jason ocampo
I thought Kira-Kira was a great book. It is one of my favorite books. I thought it was funny, sad, and happy too. I really liked it. I think this is one of my favorite books.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
madah j
If you've ever read a real Newbery book, you can see that Kira-Kira is one of the hugest dissapointments ever. The plot is dull, long and can get very boring. i usually like Newbery books, but this was terrible. Kira Kira was surely a book that should have won the Newbady award. Of course, i really liked that rare relationship between Katie and Lynn, but I hated Lynn for going off with Amber and Gregg. Kira-Kira is anything but glittering.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
amy harrison
It is obvious that Kira, Kira is a story which is meant to remind readers of the great hope and love toward life that all should possess. While Cynthia Kadohata does a wonderful job reminding us to enjoy the simple things in life and to take nothing for granted, the characters do not come across as being real at times. It seems to me that the relationships between Katie, Lynn, and Sam are too "perfect."

Kadohata does effectively depict the era and offers insight into the ethnic hardships Katie's family experienced, but

at times the story seems to drift off into nowhere. Eventually, the reader is lead on a meandering path back to the point. Kira means glittering. I have to ask, "Is this book really Kira, Kira?" Overall, it is a sweet story of a family's enduring love, but it is not a book I would have chosen for the Newbery Medal.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jennifer de guzman
this book is a great tale about a girl and her sister. i was scrolling through the books at the library and found this. the cover & title looked odd\interesting and sure enough it is. ive never heard any thing like it and it definitely kept me wanting to read more. i highly suggest you read this book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nathan tunison
I read this in one day. I couldn't put it down. The writing is beautiful, the characters are likeable, and the sense of time and place are authentic. This is a wonderful story of a Japanese-American family and its struggle with prejudice, poverty, and disease. The book has humor and sadness, but ultimately it left me feeling joyous. I loved it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
mike daronco
I'm an adult reviewing this book, so I can't speak to how the intended audience might feel about it. (That's my disclaimer.)

Shortly before reading this, my mother died. So, naturally, I thought I'd be able to relate to the main character. Not so much.

The trouble with the main character/narrator is that she is not particularly introspective. Or intelligent. Or eloquent. Or even fleshed-out. I feel like the narrator is confusingly worldly in some ways and in some ways incredibly naive, especially when it comes to identifying and sharing her feelings. It was, now that I think about it, sort of like reading an account written by a sociopath. I kept waiting for her to FEEL something.

I finished the book wondering how I could have gotten through so many pages and still feel like the main character was such a stranger. I never got in her head, never understood her, never felt what she was feeling.

And the union bit was heavy handed, whatever you might think of unions. It seemed like Katie's growing awareness of social injustice should have gone somewhere, but I didn't really feel like that was fully developed.

Actually, nothing in the book really felt fully developed, honestly. It felt as though the author took a winning formula and wrote it out, without adding any of the other ingredients, like characters. This author didn't add anything of her own to the framework. (For better books with similar themes, try The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, just for starters.) This book didn't make me feel anything. I don't think I even felt sad when Katie's sister died. And that's pretty impressive considering the place I was in personally, having just lost my own mother. I'm a crier... movies, TV show finales, and books, especially books, pretty reliably make me cry. This one gave me NOTHING.

This book just really, really missed the mark for me.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rhiana everest
I have a child who is 10 and reads ahead of her grade level, but she is very innocent (we homeschool). I realize some 10 year olds are having sex and boyfriends now, but I do not want her to see that. I whited out all the references to French kissing which were detailed with instructions and deleted the part about her listening to her parents while they had sex and about her uncle and aunt having sex daily trying for another baby. THE REST of the book was very good and had a lot of information about the historical issues that people faced at that time and how hard it was for Japanese people. Unfortunately people die, and kids often know people who die, so I think this book is very appropriate for ages 9-12 as far as the sad parts (just white out the sexual parts on pp.70, 79, 82.) My brother's baby died less than a year ago, so I know my daughter will be able to relate to this book. I just was surprised at all the sexual stuff in a kid book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
duane turner
this book is really good it really inspired me to understand hoew life went bad. As you can see their lives had change when Lynn died. Its a really good book so please read it.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kathy enquist
This book didn't really stand out in any major way. I've read far more interesting books. Sure, it had a nice ending. It's important to note, though, the difference between the recommended ages (11-14) and the Accelerated Reader level of 4.7. Language and a couple of mentions of sex and dating might not be what the 4.7 level child needs to read. So, while it might be an interesting story, it's important to note the appropriateness.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mara sanchez
Truly a spectacular book, that filled with warmth and sence of love and the beauty of life.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

I was forced to read this for a school book report, and I'd just like to say something:


I thought that I had read the worst book every when I picked up Eldest, but boy, was I wrong!

The story starts off a little slow, and I could tell from the third paragrapgh that the older sister was going to die. But, I hoped that Lynn and Katie(the two main characters)would learn some important lessons thoughout the book, and when Lynn died, Katie would have learned a lot.


This story is told though Katie's eyes, but you never really get a feel for what she's feeling. Yes, the author may have written the words "I was so angry at her!", but that dosen't mean anything if Katie dosen't do something that SHOWS her anger (raising her voice, punching some thing, etc.) The Golden Rule of Writing is show, don't tell, but the author seems to be doing a bunch of telling and not much showing.

When I started to read the book, I figuired that Katie was around four or five because of all the simple thoughts she had, but I found out that she was TEN! When you're ten, you have complex thoughts, not little one-snetance things. Even by the end of the book (when Katie was tweleve) she was still saying things like "I loved my sister so much!"'ve been saying that for the whole book, so we kinda get it by now.

The plot is made upp of the scripts from every soap opra known to man. Katie's family is forced to sell their store and move to Georgia, Katie dosen't like school, Lynn gets sick and ends up in the hospital, Katie recuses every animal she can find, Lynn dies on New Year's Day while Katie went out to look at the stars, and then the whole family(despite not being able to pay the bills) goes to California because Lynn wanted them to.

In conclusion, you'll like this book is you like a predictable plot, paper-thin characters, and 100 pages of filler. If you want to read something that SHOULD have gotten the Newbery, read The Sea of Trolls or The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Now THOSE are great books.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This has got to be the best book I have ever read!! If you like sad but captivating stories, you'll love Kira-Kira!! Read it, you'll love it!!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ayu noorfajarryani
I feel let down by the Newbery Commitee this year. I can understand why some people would like this book and I respect their opinions but I just can't enjoy this book. Maybe it was how I was reading it but I never was really sad about anything that happened. It was a well written book but, to me, there was nothing to keep me motivated to read or excite me.

Maybe I'm just not getting the point but for one reason or another I just didn't find anything at all special in this book. I feel that "Wenny has Wings" by Jan Lee Carey is a much better book that also relates to the feeling potrayed in this novel.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
adam harford
I honestly must say, this coming from an 11-year-old, this book did not deserve the Newbery. I think the reason that most other kids and teens are posting that this book is "wonderful", "fenominal", and "excellent" is simply because it won the Newbery. Some people think if it's a Newbery winner, they have to like it. I prefer to think for myself, and say, "Did I like this book because it won the Newbery, or did I like it because it was a good book?" Throughout the whole book, I was bored, and I kept thinking, "It is going to get better soon." But that never did happen, it just got worse. Another reason this book did not deserve the Newbery was because it has some inappropriate content that literally shocked me. Well, not literally as in electrical shock, but, you know. Surprised. Anyway, if you ever read an award-winning book that you liked, just say to yourself, "did I like this book because I liked it, or do I like this book because it won an award?" You might be surprised.

If you want to read an outstanding, fantastic, terrific book, read Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
annelie strydom
A very very good book! Sad though at the end. Overall a very good book though! I would recommend it to anyone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
justin hill
My daughters and I read this book for a mother-daughter book club to which we belong. The consensus in the club was that we all loved it and will recommend it to our friends. It is thought provoking for both adults and children. You will not be disappointed!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I loved "Kira Kira" I am so lucky I found it at the librairy!

It was enjoyable and somthing new for me! "Kira Kira" Deserves 10 stars!......
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicholas lind
I loved tis book! Is was unique, sad, and so well written. This book shouldn't get just a 5 star it should get a 10,000 rating stars! He book was awesome!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The author deserves high accolades for daring to write a book with real sadness that doesn't fully resolve. It's a touching book. My 13 year old daughter loves it. I recommend it for middle school or high school reading lists/requirements.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sherry rebel
I have to agree with E.R. Bird, the book was well-written but I would not recommend this to my 5th grader to read. I found it to be too serious for her age group and had read several other books during the year I felt were better, Stormwitch being one of them.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I can't believe it! The storyline was ok and all, but there were much better 2005 books that deserved something as honorable as the Newbery. This book will be on the list of "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children", up with "The Tale of Despereaux", "Holes", "Missing May", "Julie of the Wolves", and "Johnny Tremain". It just wasn't good enough. Maybe good for the HONOR, but not the MEDAL!!

This doesn't make sense!!?!!!?!?!??
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ayelen arostegui
This book might have been the most moving I've read, and I was in tears by the end. Excellent read, and also my favorite book :)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
casey meeter
I haven't even finished reading the book yet, and I felt the need to gush about it. It's amazing... The characters are so real-- and Katie made me laugh more than once out loud. READ IT !!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Kira, Kira is a great book for adolscent students. I implemented this book with my all girls class (7th grade). We all loved it. It is a great book of family value, hertiage, and life changes. I would recommend this book to any and all.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
manoj meda
Another children's book for adults. It's well written, but slow moving. It's told in an older voice looking back on the time when she was a child. How many depressing themes can a writer fit into one small book? Moving, racism, poor working conditions, terminal illness, death. If you have to read a Newbery book, pick up Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor or Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cassie milligan
Cynthia Kadohata's kira-kira is a very well written book , its humourous and at times sad definaltly worth reading for anyone of any age
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It was a great book with a twist in the plot
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rebecca czarnecki
I choose this rating because it had very good details and describing words I would recommend this book to 5th graders to 9th graders.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
rainey gibson
Im very disappointed with the Newbery decision this year. I read this book to analyse the literary merits of the novel as "most distinguished American literature for children" and Im sorry to say that this book don't qualify with the criteria. Yeah, its true that this book is socially significant; the prose is well-edited, polished, lyrical BUT kids will not read the book. An award for children's literature must be judged by kids and young-at-hearts themselves. We must end the cycle of giving a prestigious medal to "books-begging-for-an-award". The topic of racial discrimination, poverty, and death are not exactly original. This book offers nothing new to the young readers. It does not push the envelope or raise the bar of the literary form. I suspect, many writers of kid's novel these days only follow the winning formula: lyrical writing, first person account, exotic setting, sentimentality. I hope that Newbery winners next year will truly surprise and will continue to delight millions of readers not just in the US but also worldwide.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie ziegmann
Excellent story of a family that experiences hard times and death of a child. Well-written, well read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is a wonderful story about relationships, prejudice , and loving the person inside yourself. An enchanting story indeed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
noorhan barakat
This book is a very great book. It is sad and happy. This is my favorite book in the world!! It is touching and has a great adventure in it!! I reccomend it!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
The story is well-written, but there is a large amount of prose that I don't think a lot of children will stick with. There are also some heavy themes of sickness, peer pressure, and prejudice. Also, parents and teachers, be careful before you choose this one for a read aloud or as a novel to teach. There are numerous, and known, curse words that will have your children and students looking at you like, "Why'd you choose this one for us to read?"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
meri melike softa
There is a sad ending, but this book has a beautiful and understandable moral. Cynthia Kahdota did a fabulous job in this book. Everybody should read it!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book tells a story from the viewpoint of a Japanese American girl, which is quite rare in American literature. I think people will find a story told from this viewpoint quite refreshing and even an eye opening experience.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
ben wenzel
I can't believe it won, really. I did justice reading the book first before I believe the nationwide, if not global, disappointment of the current Newbery winner. Bad reviews are spreading like forest fire within the literary circle. I also can't believe kids and teens--who are unsophisticated readers--gave this book 4 or 5 stars. Maybe their teachers forced them to read this for a book report--how unfortunate. Newbery is established to provide excellent literature for American literature not to honor mediore readings to kids these days. So, lets get straight to the point. Why is this trash? First, the characters are cardboard, stereotyped. Second, the situation is so contrived and trite. Third, this is "writing down" to kids which is an insult to young minds. Fourth, there nothing new to this book. Fourth, as a matter of fact, this is recycled fiction. Fifth, this is totally formulaic (i.e., use of first person sentimental tone with "disease of the month" sprinkled with racial issues). If Cynthia Kadohata has dignity to herself, she should not accept the medal. And to the Newbery Committee, shame; that's it: shame.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
this book is one of the best books i have ever read! I was surprised every single chapter. you have to read!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
dana at harper
I immediately read this book after the Newbery medal announcement last January, being curious of the title. Im always a fan of Newbery medal-winning books for they bring back the magic, sense of wonder and discovery, and enchantment of my childhood. I must say, Im really really disappointed after reading the book "Kira-Kira"--(1) its formulaic, (2) its very unoriginal, (3) too sentimental, (4) its been written before, and most of all, (5) THIS BOOK IS RECYCLED from the author's adult novel. No offense, but Im losing my high regards to the medal and to the Newbery committee. They must explain their choice critically, not just using lame rhetorics and blurb-sounding citation. This year, outstanding kid's novel SHOULD have won like "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Gennifer Choldenko, "The Sea of Trolls" by Nancy Farmer, "Gifts" by Ursula LeGuin. Another point, I can't imagine original, canonized, and gifted writers like Ursula LeGuin, E.B. White, and Nancy Farmer DID NOT received a Newbery Medal for their classic novels. There's a controvery here, I think. For example, 1982 Newbery should be awarded to "Ramona Quimby, Age 8". For 1972 Newbery to "Tombs of Atuan" by LeGuin; 2003 to "Hoot",1957 to "Old Yeller"; 1949 to "My Father's Dragon" and 1945 to "Hundred Dresses". The titles I mentioned are considered modern classics and they survived the test of time. But one thing they have in common: These books don't have the golden sticker. The honor and instant commercial success (i.e., reprinting of thousand copies) of "Kira-kira" is not deserving. I feel like crying everytime a great book ranked poorly at the Readers should be educated, as well. NOT ALL WINNERS ARE DESERVING. The author of "Kira-kira" must be jumping for joy after receiving the good news but she should not--at least for the following years. Readers, scholars, reviewers are watching her books and works closely and critically from now on. And to the Newbery committee, please read all the books submitted carefully; read it with dignity and respect. Your job is not a book club affair. We will be watching you too. Take my word for that. Will "Kira-Kira" survive as a book? Only time--history to be exact--will tell.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I kept waiting for the book to turn around and read like an award winner. It didn't happen. Kira Kira is a depressing book written for adults who decide awards based on the angst-meter.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
WOW! this book was one of the best books i have ever read! Read it and i am sure you will love it! It is about a girl whose best friend is her sister but then her sister gets really sick.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I expect more from a book with this great award. It had a lot of unnecessary adult content that was totally uncalled for in a book marketed to children. The sisters love for each other was sweet and their relationship was portrayed well, but that was not enough to make this a good book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I don't know that I would have picked up this novel. In fact, I remember seeing it in the children's section of the local bookstore back when it first came out. I'm not always convinced the Newbery Medal lands on the very best books, but there's no doubt this time. Kira-Kira is a gem. Glittering. Perfectly pieced together. When Cynthia Kadohata writes another one, I won't pass it by.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kitty wu
This poorly written book didn't deserve even a star. This book is not deserving of a Newbery medal. Beware of buying this book for your children and for the school library. A Newbery medal is not a mark of approval. This book is only chosen by a dozen member of the committee without critical background and literary sophistication. This book is not deserving to be in the ranks of classic Newbery books like "The Giver", "Tale of Despereaux", "Bridge to Terabithia", "A Wrinkle in Time," and "A View from Saturday". Beware of kid's reviews and blind supporters of the author for they are the victims of veneration withour understanding.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
To tell the truth, Kira Kira isn't the best book ever, but it's still a very good book. To over-priced though.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
In many ways, the Newbery Award is my favorite kind of award out there. Some people prefer the Oscars. Others enjoy the Emmys. And even a few sad souls look forward to the National Book Awards. But the Newberys are different in a single undeniable way. Where other awards tell you ahead of time who the top nominations for the prize are, until the Newbery Award is announced anybody could win. Anyone who's written an American children's book, that is. Sometimes this yields fabulous winners that truly deserve their awards, like "Holes" by Louis Sacher (enjoyed equally by kids and adults, funny, moving, serious, ridiculous, and more). Other times, it yields books like "kira-kira". Ah, my poor "kira-kira". A perfectly fine book that will now be loathed and abhorred by countless generations of schoolchildren the world over. "kira-kira" is not bad, per say. But it brilliantly fulfills every stereotype of Newbery Award winners. It is depressing (sometimes ridiculously so), more of a teen novel than a book intended for children, and just the kind of story that contains lovely prose in an exceedingly boring way. It's sad to say, but now we must officially declare the 2005 Newbery year as a bum one. Pity.

Born in 1951, Katie Takeshima loves one person more than anyone else in the world. Her older sister Lynn. Lynn and Katie are inseparable from the get-go. Unlike those older sisters that would belittle or hurt their younger adoring siblings, Lynn makes sure that Katie comes with her everywhere. Their family lives in Iowa and must make some big changes when they move to Georgia. Being Japanese-Americans living in the 1950s, their parents must face terrible jobs and long hours. Worse still, Lynn seems to be losing a lot of energy for unknown reasons. As Katie grows and watches her beloved sister slipping away she must learn how to cope with the world on her own, bravely.

You know you're in for a bumpy ride in a novel when, right from the start, the main character starts talking about her adored older sister in the past tense. You know you're in even bigger trouble when she starts reading passages out of that sister's diary. I found many similarities in this book to Adeline Yen Mah's, "Chinese Cinderella", in terms of tone and plotting. For example, about the time Mah's main character was given a sweet fluffy yellow baby chick, you knew that chick was doomed. Similarly, "kira-kira" lost me when, out of nowhere, a main character got trapped in a bear trap. I mean COME ON people. A bear trap? Books for children usually lose me when they become depressing to the point of ridiculousness. Bear traps are inherently ridiculous. So too are passages in which the main character says things like, "I wondered if anyone else in history had ever been as sad as I was at that moment".

None of this is to say that the book isn't well-written. But there's also the fact that this book really isn't your average kiddie fare. You have adults wearing pads in their underwear because their jobs don't allow them to use the bathroom, discussions of menstruation, and a rather adult tone to the entire book. Prior to this award, the New York Public Library had cataloged this book as young adult. Which, honestly, is where this belongs. To say that this is a children's book simply because the narrator is a child is patently ridiculous.

So teachers everywhere, educators worldwide, heed my plea on behalf of reluctant child readers. Do NOT make them read this book in class. Sure, some kids will discover this tale on their own and they may certainly enjoy it. But like Cassandra I can see that many more children will someday be assigned this in school and that it will turn them off of good literature for years and years to come. A great crime is committed by everyone who forces this tale on a young `un. Don't be part of the problem. If you want to hand "kira-kira" to a teen, do so. If you want to read it yourself, do so. But if you want to earn yourself a great deal of scorn and rolling of the eyes, make a kid read it. It's a fine book. Just not worth the hype.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
liz dejesus
This is not a good book for children...I was not at all impressed.
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