Elise, of our KEM trio, heard Kahodata speak at the 2014 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference in Los Angeles, California, two weekends ago. This happened months after we’d selected Kira-kira as a KEM GEM, so Elise was excited to learn more about the story behind the story. Kahodata shared that the inspiration for this 2005 Newbery winning story, came from the life and death of her beloved dog. Based on this story, that must have been one delightful pet.
If you’re new to our KEM GEM page, we developed this monthly reading and writing exercise to grow as children’s book creators. As a team we’ve committed to an ambitious reading regimen. This prompts conversation about writing and illustrative styles, trends, points of view, plot arcs, character arcs, believability, voice, creativity, timelessness, cohesiveness, and skill.
Out of our reading lists, each of us selected four books–one in each genre (picture book, chapter book/easy reader, middle grade, and young adult)–to write about and recommend for the year. All three of us deliberate to agree before a book can rise to the top as a KEM GEM.
We would be delighted for you to join the conversation. Read why we chose Kira-kira and share your thoughts with us in the KIRA-KIRA COMMENTS section(in 1-150 words). We’ll post a new book recommendation on the 15th of every month, so plan to visit often. We’re excited to learn with you!
- January - Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Marla Frazee
- February - Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
- March – Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee; ill. by Tony Fucile
- April – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- May – Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
- June – Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
- July – Hen Had Her Ham by Meish Goldish; illustrated by Andy San Diego
- August – Kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata