Kira-Kira

By Lanthier, Helen | New England Reading Association Journal, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Kira-Kira


Lanthier, Helen, New England Reading Association Journal


KADOHATA, CYNTHIA. (2004). Kira-kira. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0-689-85639-3.

All that glitters is not gold but, for two JapaneseAmerican sisters growing up in rural Georgia in the late 1950's/early 1960's, you can see it that way if you want to do so. Kira-kira, Japanese for glittering, is how first Lynn, and then Katie, see all that surrounds them, even when others might call their lives tragic or blackened in the face of sorrow and loss.

The two sisters are best friends, in cahoots with each other, trying to save enough money (money given to them to buy treats) to help their family move from their claustrophobic apartment into a house of their own, after their family's oriental foods store goes out of business. Katie, through whose eyes we hear this story told, loves her family and especially loves her sister, Lynn. When Katie learns that Lynn is very ill with lymphoma, she matures quickly as she experiences new challenges in holding the family, fraught with emotional and fiscal upheaval, together.

The tale is not sugar-coated. In caring for Lynn, Katie tires and, as a result, sometimes argues with Lynn. These arguments taunt and haunt Katie long after Lynn's death. …

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