Cynthia Kadohata Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Cynthia Kadohata

Cynthia Kadohata

How to pronounce Cynthia Kadohata: ca-do-HAR-ta

An interview with Cynthia Kadohata

Other than Kira-Kira, what other books have you published?
The Floating World, In the Heart of the Valley of Love, and The Glass Mountains.  Although Kira-Kira is my first novel written specifically for young readers, all three of my previous novels feature young main characters. For my adult writing, I've received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. I also received a Chesterfield Writer's Film Project screenwriting fellowship.

Where were your parents interned during WWII?

My father and his family were interned in the Poston camp on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in the Sonoran desert.  One source claims he thermometer in 1942 hit more than 140 degrees in the Poston area. Weedflower, my next novel for Atheneum, involves a friendship between a young Japanese American girl living in the internment camp and a young Mohave boy living on the reservation.

My father was drafted out of the camp and assigned to the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service.  Three full brothers whom he'd never met lived in Japan. Two of them were killed during the war. He met the third when he served in Japan for MIS.

My mother lived in Hawaii, where people of Japanese ancestry were not interned.

What do you love besides your family?
Books, dark chocolate, and dogs, although I do consider my dog part of my family.

What do you hate?
Carnival rides.  Once at a carnival they had to stop a ride early so I could get off.  I stumbled off the ride, collapsed onto the ground, and spent the rest of the night in the back seat of the car.

How did you first get published?
I wrote about forty different stories over four years and sent them to magazines, especially The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly . Eventually I sold one to The New Yorker.  

Do you get along with your editor?
Yes.  I do whatever she tells me.  To clarify, first I storm around the house and pout for a week or two.  And then I do whatever she tells me.  I've known my editor for twenty years.  We were roommates in graduate school.  We ate healthy foods during the week, and then once a week we had a junk-food-a-thon and ate a lot of chips and dip.  During the week we went to aerobics classes and occasionally jogging.   

What are your favorite children's books?
One of my favorite children's books growing up was The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton.  When I was an aspiring writer, I actually met Jane Langton in a ladies' room.  I was absolutely thrilled, but she was just trying to go to the bathroom.  I'm embarrassed to say I bothered her for an autograph before she could pee!!  She was quite gracious.

I liked any books concerning animals, whether the animals were horses, dogs, pigs, or dinosaurs.  I loved The Call of the Wild and still love it.  Same with Lassie Come-Home.  A couple of other great books about animals are White Fang and Misty of Chincoteague. And I read all the Newbery novels -- King of the Wind and A Wrinkle in Time were special favorites.  

A couple of my current favorites are Holes and Saffy's Angel.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.