I'm always delighted when young readers submit reviews about books between cultures to feature on the Fire Escape's lists of best books. Here's a wonderful one about Cynthia Kadohata's Newbery-Award winning Kira-Kira, written by Quinn W. from Texas, age 11:
Kira-kira, kira-kira. This is the sound of Katie's first word. This word means glistening.
Katie lives with her mother, father, and sister in Iowa. When Mr. Kadohata gets a job offer in Georgia, he accepts on behalf of the entire family. Katie and her sister, Lynn, have a hard time surviving in the southern state with the other 32 Japanese immigrants. The two are so close to the other and such best friends. It's as if the words "quarrel" and "fight" do not exist in their vocabulary!
Finally, Lynn gets lucky and makes a good friend, but Katie does not exist in the world of Lynn anymore. Suddenly, a miracle happens in the Kadohata family. They are blessed with a new baby boy, Sam. Lynn looks after Katie and Katie looks after Sam. The relation of the three is a good one for the mother and father now are only at home for food and sleep.
One day, Lynn comes from her friend's home with an ill feeling and has the color "green" on her face instead of the usual rosy red. Another day falls like this, and another. And so many more days...
Kira-Kira is not a book. It is a lesson. When you read this novel, a chill travels up your spine, a warm feeling fills your heart, and tears spring to your eyes. Kira-Kira feeds a strange feeling into your body. There is no word for this feeling. In fact, it cannot even be put into words! But when you read the mesmirizing words contained in the pages of Kira-Kira, you'll get this feeling and you will understand just like all the others enchanted by this heart warming novel known as Kira-Kira .