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1001 Cranes Library Binding – August 12, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Twelve-year-old Angela Kato is not thrilled at the prospect of leaving her home in a San Francisco suburb in order to spend the summer with her disapproving Grandma Michi, her strange Aunt Janet, and her good-natured grandfather in their unattractive, crowded house in smog-filled Los Angeles. Her time will be spent folding origami "1001-cranes displays," considered good luck for weddings, for her grandparents' business. Besides missing her friends, Angela knows that her parents are separating again, and that her dad has already rented an apartment. Once in LA, Angela meets several new people who have burdens of their own. A younger girl, Rachel, has just been adopted, and Angela observes that her grandmother acts far more lovingly to this child than she does to Angela. Next door, two sisters-in-law seem to hate each other even while they are involved in planning a celebration for their parents-in-law. Unexpectedly, Angela meets a boy who wants to date her, and she tries to keep him a secret from her watchful family. Her colorful, bold voice captures the excitement of her first love as well as the anxiety of not understanding the many secrets of the adults around her. By experiencing her family's support, by learning about her Japanese heritage, and by acknowledging the various ways that love is expressed, Angela emerges into a strong, caring person.—Lillian Hecker, Town of Pelham Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When her parents’ marriage starts to implode in northern California, 12-year-old Angela is shipped off to Los Angeles to spend the summer with her maternal, Japanese American grandparents and aunt. At first, Angela resents the move, especially the hours spent in her grandparents’ “1001 Cranes” room, where the family creates elaborate origami displays for sale. She also struggles to communicate with her taciturn family, particularly her grandmother. Gradually, though, she finds comfort and new confidence as she masters the intricate paper folding techniques and discovers new ways to reach out to those around her. Hirahara, best known for her adult mysteries, offers a quiet, contemplative story that captures a girl’s first steps into adolescence amid family grief and reconciliation. The story’s gentle pace and sometimes superfluous detail may frustrate some readers, but Angela’s questions about her family history and Japanese American culture, her acute sensitivity, and her heartache will resonate with young people of all backgrounds, particularly those who, like Angela, yearn “to be the glue that fastens . . . parents together again.” Grades 4-7. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This was a good choice for me to make. Oh, and, by the way, she is going to teach me to make "Peace Cranes".
Many different relationships are portrayed - her parents' crumbling marriage, a troubled engaged couple, Angela's own foray into romance and her grandparents' strong stable relationship. What Angela learns is some work and some don't - a soft ending for a book that had more potential. I would have liked to see a stronger metaphorical tie with the origami. I also felt the author was often 'telling' rather than 'showing'.
Naomi Hirahara has a wonderful grasp on the 12-year-old mind set, emotions and viewpoint, and easily reveals it in her prose and dialogue.
Her descriptions of Angie's grandparents' home and lifestyle are very visual. They brought to mind homes and businesses that I've be in years ago. Readers will learn a lot about Japanese culture, especially about the 1001 origami crane displays (why/how they are made) as part of the story.
I was pleased by the descriptions of the neighbor's religious convictions and what all happened at her church when Angie visited there. Tender, truthful, but without preaching.
The issues that Angie encounters during the summer she stays with her grandparents - parental divorce, adoption, pre-teen boy/girl relationships, keeping secrets (both good and bad), infidelity, cancer, familial conflict - are the kinds of things kids face every day. Ms Hirahara treats them with honesty, compassion, and even a touch of humor.
Ms Hirahara is already an accomplished and Edgar-Award-winning author of adult mystery fiction, but I hope "1001 Cranes" will be only the first of many Young Adult books that she writes.
I definitly recommend it to teen and pre-teen girls, and to moms or grandmas looking for a good book to give as a gift.
Beautifully written, 1001 Cranes is touching, sad, delightful, and even funny. I highly recommend this book for all teens and tweens and adults who love them.