Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

external image SC.GIF&client=nhsl&upc=&oclc=

2014 240pp
Amazon Gr 5-9
Realistic Fiction

Recommended by Oyster River Middle School 7th grader “because of the connection he (main character) made with a little boy who could not speak the same language and he could not walk or talk right.”


Simple, straight-forward storytelling helps the reader understand the complicated situation Jaden is trying to process. Four years after he was adopted from Romania, he still struggles with hoarding food, zoning out, and bonding with his adopted parents. Kadohata uses facts about electricity (a subject that fascinates Jaden) to help sort out Jaden's feelings. When the family travels to Kazakhstan to adopt a baby, Jaden connects with another child - a 4 year old with unknown disabilities - who will most likely stay in the system and age out. This connection helps Jaden ultimately process his own feelings about his birth mother, abandonment, adoption and his place and usefulness in the world. Seems like a high/low story our kids may like. - Yvette/Merrimack