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Author: Kadohata, Cynthia
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4424-1275-0
Grades: Grade 6, Grades 7 to 9

Half a World Away

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12 year old Jaden has a curiosity and fascination for electricity. Coming from Romania to join his adoptive parents four years earlier has changed his life. Even though Jaden prefers sleeping on the floor and questions the permanence of his new life, he knows in is head that he is loved. The themes of abandoned children and inter-country adoption may be new concepts for young readers ages 11 – 14.
His adoptive parents love and persevere through tumultuous times of his anger and outbursts. At times Jaden’s downright troubled-lashing-out is hard to take, so his dad de-stresses each Sunday with a long motorcycle ride. Jaden is able to look beyond some of his own confusion and mistrust once he travels with his mom and dad Half a World Away this time in pursuit of a new baby brother.
Jaden finds a new sense of belonging and purpose when his family lands in Kazakhstan. Regular visits to the adoption agency reveal more about himself and his feelings. He begins to allow personal vulnerability looking beyond himself and showing empathy for an unlikely child at the orphanage.
His parents face mature and heart wrenching decisions once Jaden bonds with a disabled child. Jaden is instrumental in some of those difficult family decisions eventually made. The love and sense of belonging that Jaden begins to internalize will move any reader.  This touching story presents a complicated perspective on what a family works through during the adoption process of an older child and adoption involving a far away country.

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