Author: Kadohata, Cynthia
Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s, and the despair felt when one sister becomes terminally ill.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 74071
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.80
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 36214
Newbery Medal, 2005
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → CCR College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/03)
School Library Journal (03/04)
Booklist (+) (01/01/04)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/04)
The Hornbook (03/04)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2004 Katie adores her older sister, Lynn, whose charisma and imagination make the world a magical place for her younger sister; when hard times force their family to move from their Iowa home to Georgia, where work is available in the chicken-processing factories, it’s Lynn who holds things together for Katie in the face of their parents’ long working hours and the prejudice against their Japanese-American family. Soon Lynn’s health begins to flag, however, and while her parents do what they can (including buying a small house, so that the family can have the home that Lynn has longed for), Lynn is eventually diagnosed with lymphoma, which takes her life. Katie’s narration is the uninflected stream-of-consciousness of a young child, and there are touches of adult retrospection wafting through the subtext, so it will achieve its best effects with more sophisticated readers who can fill in some of the contextual blanks. It is, however, a story compellingly and touchingly told, in a matter-of-fact yet fluid style that speaks eloquently to Katie’s experience: "I wondered if anyone else in history had ever been as sad as I was at the moment. As soon as I wondered that, I knew the answer was yes. The answer was that millions of people had been that sad." The slice-of-life approach makes this a story of more than family loss, too, with the brutal existence of the factory workers a strong, if understated, theme: since no bathroom breaks are permitted, Katie’s mother and the rest of the women must wear pads at their jobs; Katie’s mother finally votes for the union in order to win the right to a bereavement day in the event of a child’s death, a privilege she herself did not have. Readers drawn by confident prose and strong family stories will appreciate this quietly lyrical account of the growth of a young girl. - Copyright 2004 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2004 Gr 6-8-Katie's first word is "kira-kira," the Japanese word for "glittering," and she uses it to describe everything she likes. It was taught to her by her older sister, Lynn, whom Katie worships. Both girls have trouble adjusting when their parents move the family from Iowa to a small town in rural Georgia, where they are among only 31 Japanese-Americans. They seldom see their parents, who have grueling jobs in chicken-processing plants. Then Lynn becomes deathly ill, and Katie is often left to care for her, a difficult and emotionally devastating job. When her sister dies of lymphoma, Katie searches for ways to live up to her legacy and to fulfill the dreams she never had a chance to attain. Told from Katie's point of view and set in the 1950s, this beautifully written story tells of a girl struggling to find her own way in a family torn by illness and horrendous work conditions. Katie's parents can barely afford to pay their daughter's medical bills, yet they refuse to join the growing movement to unionize until after Lynn's death. All of the characters are believable and well developed, especially Katie, who acts as a careful observer of everything that happens in her family, even though there is a lot she doesn't understand. Especially heartbreaking are the weeks leading up to Lynn's death, when Katie is exhausted and frustrated by the demands of her sister's illness, yet willing to do anything to make her happy. Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist.-Ashley Larsen, Woodside Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 01/01/2004 *Starred Review* Katie Takeshima worships her older sister, Lynn, who knows everything and takes care of Katie while their parents are working long hours in their small Georgia town in the late 1950s. It's Lynn who shows Katie the glittering beauty (kira-kira) of the stars and who prepares Katie for the prejudice she will encounter as one of the few Japanese American kids in their school. But when Katie is 10, Lynn, 14, falls ill, and everything changes. Slowly the roles are reversed; Katie becomes caregiver and does what Lynn has taught her. There's no surprise. It's clear that Lynn will die, and Katie goes through all the stages of grief. The real story is in the small details, never self-consciously poetic but tense with family drama. In her first novel for young people, Kadohata stays true to the child's viewpoint in plain, beautiful prose that can barely contain the passionate feelings. Just as heart wrenching as the sisters' story is what Katie knows of her father's struggle, whether it's his backbreaking work in the factory or his love for his family. The quiet words will speak to readers who have lost someone they love--or fear that they could. - Copyright 2004 Booklist.