kira-kira (kee' ra kee' ra): glittering; shining
Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.
Luminous in its persistence of love and hope, Kira-Kira is Cynthia Kadohata's stunning debut in middle-grade fiction.
Winner of the 2005 Newbery Award.
My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: kira-kira. I pronounced it ka-a-ahhh, but she knew what I meant. Kira-kira means "glittering" in Japanese. Lynn told me that when I was a baby, she used to take me onto our empty road at night, where we would lie on our backs and look at the stars while she said over and over, "Katie, say 'kira-kira, kira-kira.'" I loved that word! When I grew older, I used kira-kira to describe everything I liked: the beautiful blue sky; puppies; kittens; butterflies; colored Kleenex.
My mother said we were misusing the word; you could not call a Kleenex kira-kira. She was dismayed over how un-Japanese we were and vowed to send us to Japan one day. I didn't care where she sent me, so long as Lynn came along.
I was born in Iowa in 1951. I know a lot about when I was a little girl, because my sister used to keep a diary. Today I keep her diary in a drawer next to my bed.
I like to see how her memories were the same as mine, ...
This is a heartbreaking, gorgeous book written from the point of view of young Katie, who is only 10 when her 14 year old sister falls sick and dies. The prose is clear, simple and authentic and, most importantly, is clearly touching the hearts of young readers as you can see by the reader reviews posted at BookBrowse.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1017 words).
Cynthia Kadohata was born in Chicago in 1956. When she was very young her family
moved to Georgia where her father found a job as a chicken sexer, like Katie's
father in Kira-Kira. Then when she was about two, her father found
a chicken-sexing job in Arkansas, where they lived until she was almost nine.
She has a BA in journalism from the University of Southern California and has been writing since 1982. When she was 25 and completely directionless, she took a Greyhound bus trip up the West Coast, and then down through the South and Southwest. She met people she never would have met otherwise. It was during that bus trip, which lasted a month, that she rediscovered in the landscape the magic she'd ...
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