For my Flashback Tuesday selection I thought I would recommend one of my favorite Newbery Award Winners of the past few years: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.
When I was still a children's book buyer I used to get lots of galleys from publishers. One day I picked up an intriguing book about two Japanese American girls living in Iowa during the 1950's. I was immediately captivated by these characters and their struggles. It did seem to be quite a mature book for children but that didn't bother me. I loved this book, it is the kind of story that stays with you for a long time.
Now back in 2005 Internet blogs were not as prolific as they are today. There was no Twitter or Facebook to chat about anything. I did know about the "mock" award panels but as I was a preschool book buyer I didn't really pay attention to what was talked about. Well "Awards" day was pretty intense in the office. We were constantly on the phone with publishers and insiders to find out the winners as soon as they were announced~again unlike today where there is live blogging and a live video feed. When we got the call most of my co-workers, including the young reader buyer were quite surprised but I remember my reaction ~ I shouted in joy. I had never been so happy that a book had won. I think I was the only one in the office who had read it....I remember thinking this is the first time I have read a winner before it won.
I think this is an important book for any young reader to read, yes it is sad, yes it has adult themes but kids are not stupid. I try never to underestimate children, I try never to talk down to them~they get more than we give them credit for.
Kira-Kira is a beautifully written book that should not be forgotten or overlooked. A must have in my opinion.