Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Kira-Kira

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
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When Katie's parents receive new jobs, their family is forced to move from their home in Iowa to Georgia. One of the few Japanese-Americans in town during the 1950s, they struggle at first to fit in. The largest challenge of all comes when Lynn, Katie's older sister and idol, becomes gravely ill. Kira-Kira is a sometimes bright, sometimes sad book about sisterhood and family. The reader will quickly warm up to the likable Takeshima family, especially Kaite and Lynn's humorous uncle. Katie herself is a complex heroine, who admits that she has a habit for being “bad” but still deeply cares about her family. Kira-Kira touches on many issues of the time, such as racism and labor disputes at the factories where Katie's parents work, but the crux of the story is Katie's relationship with Lynn. When the book opens, young Katie views her older sister with a kind of hero worship, and even as things come between them, whether that be boys or disease, nothing can break Katie's devotion to her sister. When it comes to Lynn's disease, the book is not afraid to descend to some darker territory that parents may not feel that their children are ready to encounter. For all of the sad moments of story, the novel does end of a note of hope. Kira-kira is a beautifully written story about family, poverty and loss that will make the reader laugh and cry.

NOTE- this review was written for a class
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