I would never have chosen this book. So it’s a good thing the Resident IT Consultant discovered this new branch of Oxfam bookshops in Bloomsbury, just as he had a pressing need to buy Christmas presents. Cynthia Kadohata’s Kira-Kira became mine. It’s a Newbery medal winning book from a few years ago, about two Japanese sisters growing up in 1950s Georgia.
Why do we read so few American children’s books here in Britain? I feel incredibly ignorant as I struggle to come up with more than a few examples of good writers. They must exist, surely?
Anyway, the cover is boring and with an odd title as well, it would never have been picked by the bookwitch, who’s a fool and should know better. It’s an absolutely wonderful book, about childhood innocense and hardship and illness. Last year I read a Canadian writer on a similar subject, retro childhood kind of thing, which I really didn’t like at all. But Kira-Kira felt just right. I’d never considered the Japanese in America, so it was interesting to learn about them too. Curiously, the descriptions of the factory in Kira-Kira reminds me of several of Sara Paretsky’s books. Something about American factories, maybe?