Book Review: Kira-Kira
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Book Review by: Saakshi Matthew
Kira-Kira, written by Cynthia Kadohata, is a book which holds many emotions. The story takes place around the time period after World War II, when Japanese were discriminated. Thisstory mainly focuses on 3 siblings, Katie, Lynn, and Samson (or Sammy for short), and how they build their relationship as siblings. The book is named Kira-Kira because that’s the first word Lynn taught Katie. Kira kira means glittering and shining in Japanese and that’s how Lynn sees the world. This book is told from Katie’s point of view and it is an interesting, hysterical and somber narrative. When you turn the first page you cannot put the book down because it is so touching and funny, and you immediately feel part of the story yourself.
When the Japanese family moves from their small, but comfortable home in Iowa, to a small Japanese community in South Georgia, Katie tries to fit in. Katie struggles to fit in the school which is mostly white even though Lynn informs her that people are going to ignore them.
Their uncle takes them on camping trips every month, but their parents can never come because they are always working to get money because they are tight on it. When Katie goes on these camping trips she feels it is a way to block out her real life and have fun, but for Lynn it’s a time to get together with family. Katie looks up to Lynn while Sammy looks up to her.
I like both the sisters because they both have such different personalities; Lynn looks at things in a totally different way than Katie does. Lynn is a very sweet person, even if you tried to kill her she would forgive you. Katie on the other hand would beat you up if you tried to kill her. Lynn is peaceful and calm and cares about school; Katie is energetic and active and doesn’t care if she gets an F in school. Even though Katie, Lynn, and Sammy are all different they all care about each other and love each other.
Life goes all wrong and becomes challenging wrong when Lynn gets very ill and Katie has to be in charge. Lynn’s sickness turns Katie’s life upside down.
If you want to know more you will have to read the book yourself. I recommend this book to anybody ages 10-18 and even if you are not in this age group I still would recommend this book. It is a kind of book that informs you about a time period after World War II, especially the struggles of immigrant families and a book you will never forget!
KIRA – KIRA
a poem by Saakshi Matthew
based on the book, “Kira-Kira”
I remember the day we threw the tissues into the wind,
They looked like butterflies floating peacefully in the air,
Floating past calm rivers and swaying corn fields,
I remember Lynn hugging me as we watched the tissues float in the air,
I remember her saying “Kira Kira”.
I remember Lynn's beautiful black hair swaying in the wind as we rode our bikes,
I remember her smile when she used to hug me,
Her beautiful face held such a strong peace,
A peace I wish I had,
I remember her soft hands holding mine saying “Kira Kira”.
I remember her dream to visit the ocean in California,
I remember her dream to become a rocket scientist or a famous writer,
I remember her determination and will,
And I’ll never forget how she showed me how to see well in the world,
She showed me how to see “Kira Kira”.
And now when I walk along the clear, blue Californian Ocean,
I wish Lynn were here with me to enjoy it,
I wish I could see the smile on her face,
I wish I could see her watch it and say “Kira Kira”.
When the ocean waves crash, I hear “Kira Kira”,
When I hear the crickets chirp and the birds’ sing, all I hear is “Kira Kira”,
I will always try to bring that musical sound to my ear “Kira Kira”,
That is what my sister would have wanted me to do,
And that’s how she looked at the world,
For it was Lynn who brought me together,
For it was Lynn who told me dreams could come true,
For it was Lynn who taught me to see beauty inside others,
Because it was her who taught me to look at the worldin a positive view,
It was Lynn who taught me life and how to see it.
For it was Lynn, who taught me,