Tuesday, January 12, 2016
I finished another book on the list.
9) A book that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, children to adults
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
The book is told from the point of view of Katie, a little Japanese-American girl born in 1951. The story spans from when she is about five years old to when she is about twelve. It details her daily life with her older sister, Lynn and younger brother, Sam, including a move from Iowa to Georgia and the struggle her family goes through when her sister gets lymphoma.
It was really interesting to read about post-World War II Japanese-Americans living in the deep South where Jim Crow was still in effect and no one, including Katie, was sure where Japanese-Americans fell in terms of "colored" or not. You also see the conditions in a hatchery and chicken processing plant and the drive to unionize to better working conditions for the workers (workers had to wear pads because they were not allowed to go to the bathroom outside of scheduled breaks, had to stand 12+ hours a day plus repetitive motion, and only had one 30 minute lunch break). It also struck me that some of the things the parents do to be able to continue working when they have no one to watch their kids would get them jailed or their kids taken away in this day and age. From letting their 11-year-old daughter, Lynn, watch their 5-year-old daughter, Katie, all day, to leaving Katie and her brother in a car all day while the mother is working in the chicken processing plant, these are just not things that parents can get away with anymore.
I think a kid would like this, since the protagonist is a spunky little girl who adores her siblings and has various adventures. As an adult, I enjoyed the book because it gave me insights into a time period and a culture I know little about and had some interesting insights about living life that are worth being reminded about. It is also a Newbery Medal winner and extremely well written.