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Flying the Dragon

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  642 Ratings  ·  131 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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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateWaiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlanWonder by R.J. PalacioBarnum's Bones by Tracey E. FernCoral Reefs by Jason Chin
2013-14 Texas Bluebonnet Books
7th out of 9 books — 5 voters
Wonder by R.J. PalacioThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine ApplegateThe False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenKeeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon MessengerThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Middle Grade Novels of 2012
131st out of 299 books — 681 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Peter Salomon
Jul 26, 2012 Peter Salomon rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 12, 2012 Tara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Jul 03, 2012 Doret rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2012 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Aeicha rated it really liked it
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
Jen Petro-Roy
Jul 10, 2012 Jen Petro-Roy rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2012
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, ...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
Cindy Hudson
Jul 27, 2012 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing
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
L.B. Schulman
Jun 19, 2012 L.B. Schulman rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mary Lee
Aug 11, 2012 Mary Lee rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 18, 2012 Maryanne rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 06, 2016 Danielle rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, fiction
Eleven-year-old Skye has a Japanese father and an American mother and she loves soccer. When her uncle's family comes from Japan because her grandfather is sick, she needs to go to Japanese classes and help her cousin Hiroshi learn English. Hiroshi wants to go back to Japan and not share his grandfather with his cousin. Alternating between Skye and Hiroshi's points of view, this story is quiet and does a good job illustrating how hard it is to adjust to new surroundings and learn a new language ...more
Ms. B
Aug 18, 2016 Ms. B rated it liked it
Shelves: mhl, 2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 23, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it
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?
Mar 13, 2013 Bethe rated it really liked it
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!
Mr. Canning
Apr 06, 2016 Mr. Canning rated it it was amazing
This is a neat novel about two relatives, one American, the other Japanese, competing for their grandfathers relationship and yet building a relationship with each other at the same time. Touching story.
Denise Hudson
Aug 02, 2013 Denise Hudson rated it really liked it
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 :).
Apr 09, 2016 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Wished the grandfather never died
Oct 20, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
My favorite Maud Hart Lovelace book for this year. Loved the cultural piece of this book and learning more about Japanese customs and language. This book held many true emotions...cousins didn't always get along and grandpa had cancer. This book didn't shy away from those subjects but treated them with compassion. Would recommend this book to any child in the 3rd to 5th grade range.

If you like this book, also try The Kite Fighters by Linda sue Park. Very similar story but set in Korea.
Jul 13, 2014 Brenda rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Lori added it
Shelves: multicultural

Flying the Dragon-Intermediate

Does anything in this story remind you of anything in your own life? Students might relate in many different areas: moving to a new place; language and cultural differences; relationship with cousins (relatives); kite flying; death of a grandparent.

2)Perspectives and Values:
a)Japanese language references through the book;
b)Driving on different sides of the road (p. 26)
c)Miles to Kilometers (p. 27)/Japanese numbers (pg. 69)
d)Shaking hands/bowing (p 29)
Oct 24, 2013 Angie rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 17, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
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 ...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
Melanie Swider
Apr 21, 2013 Melanie Swider rated it really liked it
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
Victoria Whipple
Skye's hard work on the soccer field is paying off and she gets named to the All-Star team. She is absolutely elated, until she finds that her parents are enrolling her Japanese school, so she can learn more about her father's family's culture, which conflicts with the soccer schedule. Her parents are insistent that Japanese school trumps soccer. As if that weren't bad enough for Skye, she learns that part of the reason she suddenly has to go to Japanese school is that her Grandfather and Uncle, ...more
J.C. Phillipps
Sep 13, 2012 J.C. Phillipps rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
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
Sep 23, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Hiroshi's grandfather was a master kite maker and members of the family had been rokkaku champions for generations. Soon it would be Hiroshi's turn to compete during the Cherry Blossom Festival. But things changed abruptly when his grandfather became ill. The entire family had to move to America so grandfather could get treatment there. Grandfather had a son and his wife who already lived there and they had found a home for them to rent in their neighborhood. His son had a daughter named Skye ...more
Abby Johnson
Dec 07, 2012 Abby Johnson rated it liked it

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
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