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Kadohata, Cynthia.
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004.
IL 5-8, RL 4.9
ISBN 0689856393

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Katie and her family didn't have much material wealth, but they had each other.  As a matter of fact, Katie and her older sister Lynn were best friends.  Which was a very good thing since not too many people in the small Georgia town wanted to be friends with Japanese Americans in the late 1950s.  Katie didn't understand when Lynn tried to explain how other girls would treat her when she went to school.  But it didn't matter as long as the girls had each other.  Their parents were spending more and more time working so the girls didn't see them as much as they would like.  But the girls have each other.  Until Lynn becomes deathly ill and Katie must cope on her own.

Booktalk #2

How did she do it? No matter how awful everything was, my sister focused on the bright side... No, not just the bright ! She noticed what's kira-kira, glittering.

I can still hear her telling me that 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 some people's eyes are kira-kira.

I was just too young to understand. Lynn explained to me why people were unkind to our parents when we moved to Georgia. After all, it was only 1950 when we left our Japanese community in Iowa. Our family's grocery store closed, and mom and dad had heard that they could get jobs at the poultry processing plants. So we went there, and they did. Lynn went to school at first, but I was too young. When she came home in the afternoons, she always had time for me and told me about the world, especially the kira-kira things.

Mom and Dad worked all the time, two jobs each, to save money to get a house for us. Then Lynn got sick. After the funeral, I cried and admitted to my uncle that I had gotten angry with her when she was sick. He told me about his son, a cousin that I never knew I had, and how we have to live for those we love.

So I went to school, and I did like I'd seen Lynn do before she got sick. And I had her diary! She had kept it for 4 years and wanted me to have it, and her dictionary and her encyclopedia. At the end of December we drove to California and as I walked by the sea, I could see kira-kira again ahead of me.  Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2006-2007

SUBJECTS:     Sisters -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        Japanese Americans -- Fiction.
                        Death -- Fiction.
                        Georgia -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.


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