Flying the Dragon
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Flying the Dragon

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  389 ratings  ·  108 reviews
American-born Skye knows very little of her Japanese heritage. Her father taught her to speak the language, but when their estranged Japanese family, including Skye's grandfather, suddenly move to the United States, Skye must be prepared to give up her All-Star soccer dreams to take Japanese lessons and to help her cousin, Hiroshi adapt to a new school. Hiroshi, likewise,...more
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Charlesbridge (first published January 1st 2012)
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Newbery 2013
84th out of 116 books — 1,086 voters
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2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
467th out of 970 books — 5,713 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,287)
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Peter Salomon
I finished this book reading through tears, completely blown-away by the sweet, sweet, bittersweet ending. Gloriously, beautifully written, with vibrant, human characters. Real characters, kids you'd want to know. Just wonderful.

There's a moment in the book where my heart just ached for Hiroshi and Skye and their triumph in the face of adversity is a wonder to be a part of.

All that and action-packed kite fighting scenes!

Simply glorious.
Every time the characters in this book had a meal, I got hungry for Japanese food--to the point where I actually ran down to the Asian grocery store for ingredients and made myself some yakisoba. =)

More seriously, this was a lovely, sweet read about the challenges of trying to live between two cultures. The two main characters, Japanese Hiroshi and his American cousin Skye, were so easy to connect to; you could really feel their frustration as they tried to learn each others' languages and as Hi...more
Skye and Hiroshi Tsuki are cousins but they've never meet. Skye lives in the United States with her parents and loves to play soccer. Hiroshi lives in Japan with his parents and grandfather, and loves flying kites. After Skye's father married,he moved to the States, and has never been back to Japan. Skye is finally going to meet her grandfather because he's moving to Virginia to for medical treatment. Hiroshi and his parents are moving as well.

The chapters alternate between the two cousins. The...more
This story is chock-full of endearing characters. It's a funny and moving portrayal of what happens when one family, of two cultures, comes together. My heart went out to Hiroshi, who deals with feelings of alienation and confusion when his family moves from Japan to the American suburbs in the middle of the school year. His relationship with his American cousin, Skye, rings true with misunderstandings and rivalry. Told from both Skye's and Hiroshi's points of view, I cheered on both kids as the...more
L.B. Schulman
I loved, loved, loved this book. It was heartwarming and left me feeling good all day. It's a story about a girl named Skye whose life is turned upside down when she finds out that her Japanese cousin and his family are moving near them. Her parents force her to take a Japanese language class, potentially interrupting her chance to be on the All-Star soccer team. She struggles with her cousin, Hiroshi, over many things, especially over who gets to spend time with grandfather, who Skye has just m...more
Jen Petro-Roy
Skye has never met her grandfather. She's never met her aunt, uncle, and cousin Hiroshi either. But when her grandfather gets sick, all four of her relatives move to Skye's town from Japan for Grandfather's course of treatment. While Hiroshi and his family don't live with Skye, he still intrudes into her life far more than she would like. She's forced to be his translator in school, which causes some of the other kids to make fun of her; her father is suddenly embracing his Japanese heritage, th...more
Cindy Hudson
Skye’s dream is to make it onto the advanced soccer team for summer near her home in the Washington, D.C. area. Hiroshi wants nothing more than to enter his first kite-flying competition in his small town in Japan. Neither will get what’s expected when Hiroshi’s family moves to the U.S. for his grandfather to get a special treatment for cancer. He’s never met his cousin Skye, as her father had a falling out with his family before she was born.

Skye has never thought much about her Japanese herita...more
Fifth grader cousins Skye (born Sorano) and Hiroshi Tsuki have never met until now since Skye lives with her Japanese father and American mother in Virginia, and Hiroshi lives with his family in Japan. When Hiroshi's familiy moves to the United States so his grandfather can undergo treatment for cancer, the youngsters have nothing in common except a love for the elderly man who is a skilled artist and kite builder. But even that love causes problems since Hiroshi resents sharing his grandfather...more
THREE WORDS: Moving, Smart, Thought-Provoking

MY REVIEW: Natalie Dias Lorenzi’s Flying the Dragon was such an unexpected treat. This middle grade novel captivated me from beginning to end and touched me deeply.

Different worlds collide when two cousins from different countries learn to work together and just maybe learn from one another. American born and raised Skye knows very little of her Japanese heritage and Japanese born and raised Hiroshi knows very little about American culture. But when H...more
I will be blogging a review for this, so I'll link back here once I've done that.

But for now...

If you've ever felt like a fish out of water; if you've ever moved somewhere and didn't know anyone or couldn't speak the language; if you've ever wanted something and couldn't have it; if you've ever lost someone you loved; and more importantly, if you know a child who is feeling any of these things, this is the book you must read right now.

Middle grade fiction is the hardest to get right, but author...more
Mary Lee
This is one of the best first novels I've every read.

Here are some notes I'll use for my blog review:

--chapters alternate between Hiroshi, who is new to the US, and his Japanese-American cousin Sarano/Skye
--the story pivots around Hiroshi and Skye's grandfather, and around kites and rokkaku kite-fighting competitions
--author is an ELL teacher in DC and thus gets that part of the story so. very. right.
--both Hiroshi and Skye are struggling to learn language -- English for Hiroshi and Japanese for...more
I would like to learn more about the traditions of kite building and flying. I am sure it is far deeper and more complex then I can imagine. Reading Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi has piqued my interest. Hiroshi and grandfather stand in the wind from Tachibana Bay flying their dragon kite. They kite theybuilt together for Hiroshi's first entry in the annual rokkaku kite battle. Finally old enough, Hiroshi will fly the kite this year, while grandfather minds the reel. Their kite is bea...more
spring break bookaday #6. 2013-14 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee. Was leaning towards 3 stars for this one, but somewhere in the last third of the book, a tear or two leaked out my eye. Story about culture clash/shock, loss, and redemption. Loved Hiroshi's comment: homophones, homonyms and homographs - who really knows what these are!
Denise Hudson
Great Bluebonnet book! I like books where the point of view switches between characters. Can't wait to find some kids to push this on at school :).
Rachel Wallace
Great Children's Book, even enjoyable for adults

My 9 year old son read this with his 3rd grade class and encouraged me to read it as well. This book is perfect for 3rd, 4th and maybe 5th grade, both boys and girls.

I'm glad they are reading books like this in school; it promotes cultural understanding, being true to oneself and embracing being different. This book was well written, moved fast enough to keep the attention of an active 9 yr boy and a mom who rarely holds still.
Anna Mari
Sky grew up in America and her cousin Hiroshi in Japan. When their grandfather's illness brings the family together in Washington DC for his treatments, we listen in as the 2 children learn to speak Japanese/English, work together and build/fly fighting kites.

Samantha really liked the book when she read it at school and we bought it for her when the author was there. It is a good idea for a story. You spend alot more time in Sky's head hearing about how she doesn't like missing soccer for Japane...more
Ms. Yingling
When Skye and Hiroshi's grandfather becomes ill, it throws both their lives' into chaos-- Hiroshi's family moves from their village in Japan to Virginia, in order to be near Skye's family and get treatment for the grandfather. Skye (whose mother is not Japanese) suddenly finds her father embracing his culture and forcing her to do the same, even though it means that she has to attend Japanese classes instead of playing All-Star soccer. They are in school together, and Skye (whose family now call...more
J.C. Phillipps
This book is crafted beautifully, just like one of Hiroshi's kites.

Told in dual POVs, is the story of Hiroshi, a Japanese boy who's family has moved to America to get medical help for his Grandfather. And it is a story of Skye, Hiroshi's half-Japanese cousin who has always lived in America and considers herself American. While Hiroshi struggles with culture shock and sharing his beloved Grandfather-time, Skye struggles to embrace her Japanese side and learn about her family history.

Hiroshi and...more
Hiroshi, his parents and Grandfather are leaving Japan to move to Washington, DC. Grandfather has cancer and is seeking a new treatment in America. They are moving close to Grandfather's first son. Skye is happy living in Washington and playing soccer. Then she learns that her Japanese relatives are moving here. Her father has never talked much about Japan and Skye barely speaks Japanese or knows much about the culture. Hiroshi and Skye both have to change their lives and learn new things. For S...more
Teresa Garrett
Skye is as American as the next kid in her class but she knows her father is Japanese. For some reason her father is not close to his Japanese family but Skye doesn't know why. So it is quite the shock when her extended Japanese family is relocating near her so her grandfather can receive medical treatments. Her parents tell her she must attend Saturday Japanese school instead of soccer practice so she can talk to her relatives including her cousin Hiroshi who will be in her class. Between tryin...more
Sep 09, 2012 Beverly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 10-13 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: kirkus book reviews
Flying the Dragon is a sweet coming-of-age story told from two perspectives. Skye is Japanese American, but has always lived a totally American life. She has never been to Japan, never met her father's Japanese family, does not speak Japanese and barely knows how to use chop sticks. When her father's family comes from Japan and moves in down the street, Skye's cousin Hiroshi complicates her life. He doesn't fit in at school, and Skye's classmates want to know why she is hanging around the strang...more
Melanie Swider
A powerful story about a young girl named Skye who was born and lives in the United States and her cousin Hiroshi who has always lived in Japan. Skye's father is Japanese and lived in Japan until he married her mother and moved to the United States. Since Skye has always lived in the U.S., she considers herself American and not Japanese. In fact, she even changed her name from Sorano to Skye to "Americanize" it. She eats American food and only speaks Japanese once in awhile when her father makes...more
Flying the Dragon is a heartwarming story of two cousins--one from Japan and one who is bi-racial and native to the United States--who learn to adjust to changes in their families. Hiroshi and his family move to Virginia for Grandfather's cancer treatments, and Sorano, who goes by Skye, is meeting her Japanese relatives for the first time. Skye's parents have enrolled her in Japanese school to improve her Japanese skills, and Hiroshi struggles to make friends in his new American school and learn...more
Abby Johnson

This is a nicely written story about the immigrant experience, told in alternating perspectives: Hiroshi (new to American from Japan) and his cousin Skye (Japanese-American, but not quite fitting in anywhere). Young readers will definitely identify with the realistic and well-researched characters of Hiroshi and Skye, seeing themselves or learning plenty about Japanese culture and the difficulties new immigrants face. I felt like the author tried to do a little too much with this story and I...more
Feb 27, 2013 Lara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lara by: Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee 2013
I had a really hard time with this one at first--it felt very stiff and forced to me, and I couldn't quite see any of the characters as real people for awhile. You know how sometimes the message can get in the way of the character development? This kind of felt like that to me.

I also had trouble with the bilingual aspects; it seemed like everybody was communicating way too easily most of the time.

And then, the story felt a little uneven--there's a lot of focus on school at first, and soccer, a...more
Natalie Dias Lorenzi made a good book that had a lot of laughs and a "keep-you-on-your-toes" action. I enjoyed this book and (heh heh) learned some Japanese words.

Skye is Japanese, but she doesn't see herself as that. Until her Japanese relatives that she's never met come to america because Grandfather is sick with cancer. Her cousin Hiroshi is a Grandfather and kite hoarder. but will the cousins be able to pull themselves together when tragity strikes and the kite battle begins?
Bluebonnet Nominee 2013-2014.

A lovely book, perfect for read-aloud (but the teacher must read ahead so s/he doesn't cry when things get emotional at the end.)

American born Skye and her Japanese cousin Hiroshi meet when Grandfather must move to America to be treated for cancer. ELL teacher and first-time novelist Natalie Dias Lorenzi crafts a beautiful story that blends the journeys of the two cousins and their families into a wonderful story of love, respect and honor.

As a former ELL teacher, pe...more
The book was wonderful-- poignant without being overly so, funny at times, sweet, and lovely. The story arc was satisfying without being predictable. The tension between Skye and Hiroshi wasn't overly dramatic, just real. The family relationships were true and honest. I loved it and the kids in my MG book club did, too.

It was awesome. I highly recommend this book for the middle-grader in your life, or any adult who loves MG.
Mary Kay
There is so much going on in this book, it's difficult to pin down my favorite part.

Did you weep for Jesse in Tuck Everlasting but cheer for Winnie joining the wheel of life through your tears? Did you read Wonder and cry and laugh and wish the story wouldn't end?

This book is bound to be a classic. Best.Book.Ever.
This story has adolescents yearning to belong and make friends, cultural differences, family history, grief, joy, pride, language differences, and a real plot lint to boot!

The story of...more
Clara Roberts
This was a delightful childrens book. It treats crosscultural differences respectfully On one side you have a Japanese-American girl trying to learn Japanese and her Japanese cousin trying to learn English. Each is embarrassed by their classmates in a different way.
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