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Publisher's Summary

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.

Click here to see a full list of Newbery Medal winners and Newbery Honor winners.
©2005 Cynthia Kadohata (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

  • Newbery Medal Winner, 2005

"Lynn's ability to teach Katie to appreciate the "kira-kira", or glittering, in everyday life makes this novel shine." (Publishers Weekly)
"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." (Booklist)
"All of the characters are believable and well developed....Girls will relate to and empathize with the appealing protagonist." (School Library Journal)

What listeners say about Kira-Kira

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 27-08-2005

An Emotional Rollercoaster

I listened to this book in the car with my kids aged 5, 8 and 12, as we drove to our vacation spot. All four of us loved it, although it might be a tad too mature for most kids under the age of 8. The poignant story made us laugh and also made us cry (well, mostly I cried, truth be told). It raised many issues for discussion: segregation, family values and matters of life and death. The story offered a peek into the experience of one Japanese-American family moving from Iowa to Georgia in order to improve their quality of life. Beautifully written and also beautifully narrated.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Crier
  • 06-05-2007

Wonderful family fair!

This is a wonderfully stirring book with a wonderful narrator. On an road trip, my family (kids 4-10, mother, grandmother) listened with rapt attention. We laughed, we sympathised, and the children asked questions that led to wonderful discussions. A wonderful way to spend a trip or an evening at home. Definitely beats hearing "Are we there yet?" over and over.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Misty
  • 30-06-2006

Great for a Car Trip with Kiddos

This book talks about death in a way that is dealable. It's a great book to listen to on a short road trip with kiddos, and then start a conversation about death if need be. It lends itself to that. For someone without that intent and just wanting a story, the character development is nice, but it felt like the story was blotchy--missing pieces. It was nice enough, but if it were more than 5 hours, it would have lost my interest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ellis
  • 05-08-2021

Told very well

I loved this book as a kid and decided to revisit it with audible. I love this story, so sweet. The narration was so good it made it that much more enjoyable

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-07-2021

Heart-Warming

I read this book years ago as a kid, and I still love it today.

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  • RS
  • 16-08-2018

Sparkling

Kira Kira was a heartbreaking story with "sparkling" detail of each character, setting and event.

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  • Holli Eddins
  • 08-07-2018

The book was really great

I like the story because it hooked you in and I could not stop listening.📔

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-06-2018

Simple and retrospective

Playing upon the simplicity of childhood thought, Cynthia unravels a plot line surrounding hardships of a minority family coupled with the subjection of medical complications. The writing is simple, the topics relevant to today’s youth. I found the writing was too simplistic for the mature topics and could have been expansive in several areas. Good for a simple read.

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  • Grace
  • 23-10-2017

Beautiful story!

This story was read beautifully and the plot is gorgeous as well. It’s sad but necessary. Family dynamics, Japanese culture, and childhood grief are told in such a way that anyone can see how wonderful life can be.

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  • Kenneth E Horvath
  • 22-05-2016

Touching Story

The life and struggles of a family trying to make it as Japanese Americans in a time when fear and discrimination hindered their place in America.

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