PW starred this Newbery winner, which is set in the 1950s and '60s and is narrated by a first-generation Japanese-American girl, saying, "The family's devotion to one another, and one sister's ability to teach her younger sister to appreciate the `kira-kira,' or glittering, in everyday life make this novel shine." Ages 10-14. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 6-9-Katie Takeshima knows her sister Lynn taught her to say Kira-Kira (S & S, 2004), the Japanese word for glittering or shining. The word is a sharp contrast to the hardships Katie's parents face working in the poultry industry in 1950's Georgia and coping with Lynn's terminal illness. What does shine in Cynthia Kadohata's Newbery-winning novel are the loving relationships between parents, sisters, and younger brother Sam, and the support the Takeshimas find in their small Japanese-American community. Katie recalls difficult times such as the family's move from Iowa and the traumatic day when Sam got caught in an animal trap. She also remembers with great affection Lynn's exceptional abilities and the kooky kindness of her paternal uncle. Katie finds many of these memories recorded in Lynn's diary, and she also recognizes that one of Lynn's legacies is her own ability to see the kira-kira all around her. Elaina Erika Davis narrates with a careful cadence that reflects the ethnic sensibilities of the novel, and her only shortcomings are occasional, unconvincing passages of Japanese-accented dialogue. This novel has the immediacy of an autobiographical account of love and loss and presents insightful glimpses of questionable labor practices and post-World War II discrimination against Japanese-Americans. Most important, it will be meaningful for individual listeners, useful for classroom discussions, and an asset in school and public library collections.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"Will speak to readers who have lost someone they love or fear that they could." -- "Booklist, " starred review "This novel shine[s]." -- "Publishers Weekly, " starred review "An unforgettable story." -- "San Diego Union-Tribune"