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A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal (Kira-Kira) and the National Book Award (The Thing About Luck).

Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.” That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing.

When they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve traveled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.

From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, the vivid depictions in Half a World Away create “an inspiring story that celebrates hope and second chances” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Photo Credit:

Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and PEN America Award winner WeedflowerCracker!, Outside BeautyA Million Shades of GrayHalf a World Away, Checked, A Place to Belong, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her dog and hockey-playing son in California. Visit her online at CynthiaKadohata.com.

  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ)
  • Maine Student Book Award Reading List
  • Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
  • Kansas State Reading Circle List Starred Junior Title
  • Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee (MD)
  • Georgia Children's Book Award Finalist
  • Lamplighter Award Nominee (TX)
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List

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