Kadohata, Cynthia. Kira-Kira. Atheneum, 2006. ISBN 978-0689856402 272 pp. $8.99
Kira-Kira is a wonderful novel. Two Japanese-American sisters, growing up the late 1950s, are best friends. Lynn, the older sister, teaches Katie that there are many “kira-kira” (glittering) things on this earth. As their parents struggle to provide for the family and save money to buy their own house, Lynn, Katie and younger brother Sam, play, dream and imagine together. When Lynn grows ill and the hospital bills pile up, things become very stressful for the family. Katie helps to nurse her sister and take care of Sam while her parents work at the local chicken hatcheries day and night to make ends meet.
Our narrator, Katie, is sweet, silly, honest, brave and a good storyteller. She relates events exactly as I imagine a ten to twelve year-old girl would and gives hope to the reader that even in the saddest of times, there are glimmers of kira-kira to be found.