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Kira-Kira

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  21,515 ratings  ·  2,548 reviews
kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason and so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Ly ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published February 1st 2004)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,515 ratings  ·  2,548 reviews


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Karrie
Oh, do you ever wish a book could just go on? Kira-kira is such a beautiful piece of writing that the story has stayed with me since I finished it two days ago. It's one of those books that makes you feel like nothing you read after that will compare. The richness of the characters is what drives this story, and by the end of the book I felt as if I knew each and every one of them.

This is the story of a Japanese-American family named Takeshima. Katie, the middle child, is the narrator of their
...more
Laurel
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE AWESOMEST BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF AWESOME BOOKS. I cried at the end. I reccomend it to you and everyone you know. I read it like 10 times and so should you. It's about a Japanese girl and her family living in the U.S. in that descrimination era.
Julia M
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of the loveliest books I have read in a long time! I can't remember when I last cried over a children's book, but this touching story about a young Japanese-American girl definitely made me shed a tear or two. Katie and her family, including big sister Lynn and little brother Sammy, live in a small town in Georgia during a time when looking different means low-paying jobs and unaffordable housing. Katie's parents eventually end up working multiple factory jobs to support the f ...more
Patricia
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This one never got to my currently reading shelf as I was too busy reading, or listening to it. Caused me to miss a few turns. It had been recommended to me two years ago by a friend who also got me into Audible Books. From the sounds of the crickets resounding in the words of the title to the glitter of the world, I can see how this book deserved the 2005 Newbery award. Cynthia Kadohata elaborated on so many themes from the personal connection of being Japanese in America to the universal theme ...more
James
Jan 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Attention Yankees! The pronoun "y'all" is a contraction of "you all" and is plural. No one in the South ever addresses a single person as y'all. That would be like addressing that person as "you folks." It doesn't make any sense. I should be more forgiving, since the towering Russell Banks makes the same gaffe in Rule of the Bone, but Kadohata's persistence in this folly pretty much ruined the book for me. My willing suspension of disbelief deflated with an almost audible hiss. Other lame lazine ...more
 Дарья
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found this insufferably cliche and childish.
Jill
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Kira-Kira is the story of the Japanese-American Takeshima family, told from the point of view of Katie, the youngest daughter. We learn in the opening passage of the story that Kira-Kira means “glittering” in Japanese, and that it was Katie’s first word, taught to her by her older sister Lynn. It’s obvious from the beginning that Katie adores Lynn.

Born in Iowa to Japanese immigrants, Katie and Lynn have a nice childhood, but everything changes when the family’s Asian food store goes out of busin
...more
Heidi-Marie
Much of this book was predictable: young protagonist, struggles come to family, family begins to falter, and tragedy must be overcome at end. But I liked the setting and the plot. It was a Japanese family in Georgia in the 1950s. It was interesting to hear about the hard work and the different kind of prejudice. It made me wonder what my grandmother must have gone through when she relocated to the "land" states.

I think the part I most connected with was the relationship between the two sisters.
...more
Baron Ren
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is similar to A Long Walk to Water in many ways. First of all, it is almost exactly like A Long Walk to Water when Salva had to take leadership and lead the boys to Ethiopia. In Kira-Kira, a girl named Katie's family is breaking up because her sister died, and she has to take leadership and stop her family from breaking apart. Another part that is the same as A Long Walk to Water is when Salva finds his new family and is flexible with every change that gets into her life. So is Katie w ...more
Tim
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
I agree with the reviewer who said (in a review from January 2010): "Dear Yankees, the word "y'all" is a contraction of "you all" and it is plural." It was mind-numbingly annoying that Katie used it when addressing a single person with regularity. Kadohata claims she lived in the South when she was young; I can only guess it was for a very short time, a long time ago and she has not returned. Any young child who regularly heard people use this expression correctly and who would pick up the accen ...more
Tara
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tara by: Julie @ Allears Audio
Being of Japanese descent, I recognized so much that was in my childhood of the day to day existence and the way the family operated. I grew up in California but I think the racism that was experienced in the book was what my parent generation had to deal with in the South.

I particularly appreciate the correct pronunciation of the Japanese language. That's one downside of audio books, if you get it wrong, it is difficult to listen to. I once rented out a book by Gail Tsukiyama (the one with the
...more
Hiroshi Sasaki
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-school
I had to take my mind off the fact that I was taking a life-changing exam at 1:30 pm. I had started this middle school, Newbury award winning little book earlier in the week in between cramming, and decided the morning of the exam that the best way to chill and prepare was to lie back and finish the back half of the book. Wow. What a great decision. Kadohata does an amazing job not only of evoking what it feels like to be a kid bewildered by family, world, school, and simply how to be, but espec ...more
Cindy_E2
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Kira-Kira was a very heartfelt book, it took awhile for me to finish reading the book because I was reading few other books at the same time. The word Kira Kira has a very deep meaning, you will figure it out as you read the book. A short summary of the book is when Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, Lynn, her sister, explains to Katie why people stop on the street to stare at them. Hope you guys all read this book. It's amazing.
Dini
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, to-part-with
Here are some of the things I thought about when reading this book:

1. The relationship between Katie Takeshima and her older sister Lynn reminded me of my own relationship with my little sister. Katie worships Lynn and does everything she tells her, thinking Lynn is a genius. I think my sister worshiped me too as a kid (I'm convinced she still does, but don't tell her I said that), although I may not be as perfect and protective and full of guidance as Lynn is. My sister also once told me I was
...more
Mayra
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Addie, Katie, Emily
Recommended to Mayra by: Lauren Allen
This was a great book, portraying the theme of antiracism. The author it so poetic, but in a realistic kind of way, the way that makes writing sound beautiful. I am not usually the kind of person who likes Newberry books, so when my friend Lauren forced this book into my hand, I put it back on the shelf. What was I thinking! She did it a second time, and this time I actually checked it out of the library. They say that a good author can make you feel anything, and as I read the life story of a l ...more
Aj Sterkel
The Good: Let’s be honest: I mostly read this book because it has the same name as my dog. That’s a terrible reason to read a book, but whatever. How often do you come across a book with your dog’s name on the cover? I had to read it.

Kira-Kira has nothing to do with dogs. It’s about a poor Japanese-American family in the 1950s. In order to keep their house, the parents have to work long hours at a chicken hatchery and processing plant. Their middle daughter, Katie, is left to care for her younge
...more
Laina
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittney
Dec 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book takes place in Georgia in the 1950's. This book is fictional and a young adult book. The main characters of Kira-Kira are Katie and Lynn. This book is about a little girl named Katie who moves to Georgia from Iowa with her family. Katie and her older sister were very close but when they moved to Georgia everything changed. Lynn changes when she meets a new friend and forgets about Katie. After a couple of months Lynn gets very sick and is unable to go to school. At that time Katie didn ...more
Davis
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't say how much I loved this. It's got lots of serious issues in it, with just a few of them featuring loss, racism, cruelty, and lots of other stuff all presented greatly from a child's point of view. Which leads me to my next point: the narrative. The narration sounds exactly like you'd expect a nine year old girl to sound. The writing isn't beautiful, and it's very simple, but that's because Kadohata really put herself into the head of her protagonist and made herself sound exactly like ...more
Erin
Apr 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Katie Takeshima's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese term for "glittering." Her older sister, Lynn, is extremely intelligent and taught her this word. Katie and her family move south to Georgia, where there are less than fifty Japanese Americans alongside them. Her parents start jobs with long hours and inhumane treatment, in the hopes of one day getting a real house. The sisters save their candy money and are eventually able to donate it to the family to help in the purchase. Unfortunately ...more
Daniel
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am disappointed that this novel was chosen for the Newbery Medal Award. While not a bad book, by any means, I didn't feel that this story every struck any particularly strong chords or said anyting in a new and creative way. It seemed all too obvious that the sister was going to die, very early in the book. It also seemed too obvious that the parents were likely to vote for the union despite their talk against it.

The only thing that made this story slightly unique was that it was a Japanese fa
...more
Haleema
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Beware of spoilers!

Even though I thought this book was "ok", I still don't want to give it two stars because it just looks bad when you look at it overall.

I knew Lynn was going to die. I think the author meant for that to happen anyway. There was really nothing to this story, though. I mean, two sisters love each other, think they're perfect, etc. Then they get a baby brother. Then one of them gets cancer. Then one of them dies.

The end.

I mean, I wish there was more to this book. More depth and
...more
Glaiza
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, I think middle-grade books prepare people for the real world in a quiet way - equal parts gritty reality & comfort in hope. I didn't realise this story would also explore grief in a visceral way (view spoiler) but I would recommend this to all kids. I can see why so many of my friends loved this book when they were younger. The stor ...more
Philip
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
haley
The story was predictable, but honestly that doesn't matter. It's a simple story but a powerful one. One of the morals of the story is to look for something "Kira-Kira", or "glittering" in everything. And that's a pretty great moral.

I don't have a sister, so I can't personally relate to Katie and Lynn's relationship, but I thought their bond was very sweet.

The main focus of the story is Katie and Lynn's relationship, but there are other things going on too, like the racism prevalent in the Ame
...more
Erika Tortorice
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 642
This historical fiction novel kept me intrigued to find out what would happen. A young Japanese girl named Katie tells of a story about her relationship with her sister Lynnie. She builds up that connection they have, by telling stories of struggles she and her family face and how her sister is a big part of all of them. Lynnie is sick various times throughout the book, but it never quite allows the reader to know how sick until the end. It leaves you wondering, will she be okay or will she die? ...more
Lydia
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this comfort book, and I read it for the second time. The characters were slightly relatable as they were Japanese people living in the U.S, but they were living there during a world war which made it quite interesting(I love novels set in wars, especially World War II). This taught about how it was culturally to be a Japanese living in the U.S back then. This was a very easy read so next I will be reading a stretch book.
Ethan
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
not deserving of the newbery award, honestly. the immaturity and the general annoying qualities of our main character would have barely got me through in the beginning had this book not been used for school. it got a little better at the end (i did skip so many pages though, just the ones i had to read) but still. no.
Mia
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-youngish
Disappointing book in many ways. For me, there was an inauthenticity in the narrator's voice which sounded like an adult trying to write as a young girl. Racism and work equity are very shallowly treated. Didn't get it.
aina
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.25 stars.

A simple story with a simple plotline, but it still managed to touch my heart.

The writing was nice. Simple for children, an easy read for me. There were some parts that were emotional it made me tear up a bit. I especially loved the last portion of the book when things started looking up for the family and they were able to find hope again after the hardship they went through.

The strong sisterhood bond between Katie and Lynn was admirable. Their relationship had its up and down as th
...more
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Play Book Tag: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata- 4.5 stars 2 12 Jul 29, 2017 12:32PM  
Theme Projects 2016: Piper's Theme Project 2 8 Mar 12, 2016 07:10PM  
Piper Parkinsons Theme Project on Kira-Kira 1 2 Feb 15, 2016 10:55PM  

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Cynthia Kadohata is a Japanese American writer known for writing coming of age stories about Asian American women.

She spent her early childhood in the South; both her first adult novel and first children's novel take place in Southern states. Her first adult novel was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Her first children's book, Kira-Kira, won the 2005 Newbery Medal. Her first published s
...more
“My sister had taught me to look at the world that way, as a place that glitters, as a place where the calls of the crickets and the crows and the wind are everyday occurrences that also happen to be magic.” 104 likes
“It was hard to stay angry when I felt so sad. I would rather have felt angry, but instead, all I could do was sob. Even though people had been coming over all day, the house seemed so lonely that I couldn't stand it.
The room grew somewhat dimmer. I didn't move as it grew dimmer still. Then, with a start, I hurried outside and ran to the alley in back of our house. Through a break between the buildings, I saw that the sun hung low over the horizon. I watched it until it started to hide between two trees in the distance. Then I climbed on a car and watched until only half of the sun was visible, and then a quarter, and then I felt a huge sickening panic inside of me and ran as hard as I could to a ladder I saw down the alley. I rushed up the ladder and climbed on the roof of somebody's garage. I saw the sun again, a quarter of it, and then a slice, and then it disappeared, the last time ever that the sun would set on a day my sister had lived.”
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