Kira-Kira, Newbery Award

As a book I listed as one of my Book Award Challenge selections, I felt inclined to sit and finish Cynthia Kadohata's Newbery winner, Kira-Kira. I was, however, so disappointed. There are times when I wonder what in the world the Newbery committee was thinking when it made selections, because I know several books listed as Honor medalists that would have made better winners than this book, and for so many reasons (Al Capone Does My Shirts anyone?!).

Katie Takeshima is growing up in the 1950's, a time where the Japanese are not exactly smiled at in public and where it is very difficult for her parents to gain good employment. When her uncle gets her parents jobs in a chicken hatchery in Georgia, they move from Iowa to completely new state, foreign to all of them. Katie grows even closer to her older sister Lynn, who just happens to be her best friend in the entire world. Unfortunately, Lynn slowly becomes very sick, causing her to pull away from Katie, and resulting in their parents working incredibly long hours in order to pay for Lynn's medical bills. As both girls continuously talk about their future dreams, the reader knows that none of the dreams can possibly come true for Lynn and subsequently will not come true for Katie, as she takes over the role of caregiver for the family, as Lynn's health declines.

Depressing and somber from the beginning, the novel just did not seem Newbery worthy to me. Unfortunately it did not even seem Honor Medal worthy. The reader did get to catch glimpses of life as a Japanese-American in the 1950's, as well as of a close-knit sibling relationship. I just think the book would have had a better chance at being likable if it hadn't started out with a dark feeling at the beginning, giving the reader upfront insight that tragedy was going to strike


    i've put off reading this one because the children's librarian at our local branch told me she didn't particularly like it ... i'm sure i'll read it eventually, but it's not high on my to-read list. thanks for the review!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that way. I was disappointed in it as well.