Throwback Thursdays #2- Cynthia Kadohata

Dear friends,

Coming from someone who primarily reads young adult content featuring mythical creatures, greek gods and goddesses, superhuman powers and molnija marks, books like this are like a break from non-existent fantasy events.

Revolving around Japanese-American families during Pearl Harbor, Kira-Kira and Weedflower are brutally honest, and is a quick emotional yet informative read. Don’t let the racism and war theme stop you! They really aren’t hard reads, and aren’t too deep. The best things about these books is that the main characters (which are female protagonists by the way) aren’t characters with a chosen destiny to fulfill, or Area 51 type superpowers they’re just your everyday girl-next-door, who have homework to do like all of us (I’ve noticed teen superheroes never need to pee or eat or do their homework, and they all just magically pass their exams. I wish I was like that.) and have got to get through awkward middle school dances like all of us (Kim Possible anyone?). Kira-Kira and Weedflower crams all of this into it, and for a novel aimed at middle-schoolers, I think it’s worth a quick read.
So, without further ado…

From the dark days of pre-blogging:

My rating: 4/5

*Clicking on picture will link to this book on Goodreads

1. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
First Published: 2004

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 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.

*Clicking on picture will link to this book on Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

2. Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
First Published: 2006

Twelve-year-old Sumiko feels her life has been made up of two parts: before Pearl Harbor and after it. The good part and the bad part. Raised on a flower farm in California, Sumiko is used to being the only Japanese girl in her class. Even when the other kids tease her, she always has had her flowers and family to go home to.

That all changes after the horrific events of Pearl Harbor. Other Americans start to suspect that all Japanese people are spies for the emperor, even if, like Sumiko, they were born in the United States! As suspicions grow, Sumiko and her family find themselves being shipped to an internment camp in one of the hottest deserts in the United States. The vivid color of her previous life is gone forever, and now dust storms regularly choke the sky and seep into every crack of the military barrack that is her new “home.”

Sumiko soon discovers that the camp is on an Indian reservation and that the Japanese are as unwanted there as they’d been at home. But then she meets a young Mohave boy who might just become her first real friend…if he can ever stop being angry about the fact that the internment camp is on his tribe’s land.

Love always,
The Permanent Monday

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5 thoughts on “Throwback Thursdays #2- Cynthia Kadohata

  1. I read Kira-Kira! Sooo long ago. I remember squinting at the cover and being really disturbed because they seemed so sad! I don’t remember most of the book, except that the mother worked at a chicken slaughterhouse? That’s the one thing that stuck out for me.

    • Yeah she does, I think the part I remember most is the sister (Lynn) dying and then the rest kind of morphs in with Weedflower…

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