Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Audiobook: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (2004; 4 hours, 29 min.)

From the back of the audio-case:

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 Lynn who explains to her why people stop them on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering, kira-kira, in the future.

Luminous in its persistence of love and hope, Kira-Kira is Cynthia Kadohata's stunning debut in middle-grade fiction. Kira-Kira won the 2005 Newbery Medal for most distinguished American children's book.

I listened to this one in the car bit by bit during my various chauffeur duties. I liked the story, which is geared towards readers beyond sixth grade, I would say, but the reader sounded like she was reading to preschoolers, which bothered me. As far as the story, I liked that my kids could hear the struggles of this family and hopefully be grateful for the blessings they enjoy. Katie's parents work in a chicken factory many long hours, under undesirable conditions, to provide the necessities for their children. It's a tough life for them, especially dealing with Lynn's illness, and even though they live through some tragedy, Katie still comes through it all appreciating the simple beauties of life. It's not a page-turner (or whatever you would call it when it's an audiobook), but it definitely has it's merits, and where else are you going to hear Japanese-American characters speaking with a Southern twang?


  1. This one did nothing for me when I read it a while back. I think the southern twang would have done me in.

  2. I've given you a little award, which you can pick up here:


  3. Great minds think alike, obviously. I've given you this award, too - it's at blogginboutbooks.blogspot.com