Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Kira-Kira

Boy, I'm just a reading machine these days.

Yesterday and today, I read kira-kira, this year's Newbery award winner. It's the sotry of a little girl whose older sister and best friend dies of leukemia. But it's not about death, nor grief. It's about being Japanese-American in the south in the 1950's. It's about the attempt to unionize her parents' jobs at the chicken processing factories. It's almost a kids' ersion of The Jungle. But it's also about a relationship that changes as the girls get older.

The first thing that struck me about this book was that it is written in the short, choppy, simple sentences used by children in essays. Noun, verb. I guess unlike the last book I read, the narrator was actually a child, not an adult remembering her childhood.

There's a lot to this book, despite its linguistic simplicity. Besides the story of Lynn getting sick, there are plenty of side stories, and her illness is almost an afterthought, until it actually begins to take over the life of her family.

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