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Review: Half a World Away

January 23, 2015

Half a World Away

Jaden isn’t too thrilled by the fact that he and his family are flying to Kazakhstan to adopt a baby.  Jaden was eight when he was adopted from Romania four years ago and he hasn’t completely adapted to his new home.

He figured he knew why they were adopting again: They weren’t satisfied with him.  Whenever he thought that, he felt tears welling up.  He didn’t know if he was upset for himself, because they weren’t satisfied with him, or for the baby, because if the baby was up for adoption it meant the mother had abandoned him, and Jaden knew what that was like.

Of course Jaden’s parents are satisfied with him and are working hard to make him feel secure while they complete their family.  Jaden’s not so sure, though, until they get to the orphanage and he meets Dimash.  Unfortunately, Dimash is not the child they’ve come to adopt but Jaden feels like he must do something – after all, Dimash needs him.

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata is a middle grade reader about families and adoption.  It’s told from the point of view of a tween who was adopted himself.  He has conflicted feelings about being adopted and acts out because of it.  His parents are patient and loving and do what they can to help him.

When Jaden hears his parents plan to adopt another child he assumes they’re disappointed in him.  He reluctantly accompanies his parents and makes an important discovery when they visit the orphanage.

I wanted to love Half a World Away and I did enjoy it a great deal but I’m not sure I loved it.  Still, I think it’s an important book for young readers, particularly those who’ve experienced adoption themselves.  I really appreciated the fact that Jaden is open and honest with his feelings and his parents treat him with the respect he deserves.  Many young readers will relate to Jaden and parents could use this book to spark discussions about adoption.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
19 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2015 7:03 am

    I really enjoy Kadohata’s books and writing, so I’ll be looking for this title. Kira-Kira is one of my favorites.

  2. January 23, 2015 9:19 am

    I too have enjoyed Kadohata’s books.

  3. January 23, 2015 9:54 am

    Poor Jaden. It’s easy to see why he’d feel this way. Now I want to find out what happens at the orphanage!

  4. January 23, 2015 11:52 am

    Thanks for your candid remarks Kathy. This sounds like a heavy, but important topic.

  5. January 23, 2015 12:14 pm

    Kathy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. It sounds like a good book about the topic of adoption.

  6. January 23, 2015 12:28 pm

    Interesting. I haven’t heard of a book that deals with international adoption issues for kids in this way. I can see that it could be very helpful for kids in similar situations.

  7. Patty permalink
    January 23, 2015 12:53 pm

    Books like this are aways good because they are sure to help someone. That’s what I think…anyway!

  8. January 23, 2015 4:28 pm

    Sounds like a good book, especially for its target audience. Adoption can be a confusing topic for kids I would imagine.

  9. January 23, 2015 5:07 pm

    I thought this book was really touching – glad you liked it for the most part.

  10. January 24, 2015 6:43 am

    What a good book for kids who’ve experienced adoption.

  11. bookingmama permalink
    January 24, 2015 9:34 am

    This book does sound like it has some important issues/messages in it. Sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations.

  12. January 24, 2015 12:29 pm

    This sounds like it would be a good read with a good topic.

  13. January 24, 2015 1:19 pm

    You’re very honest in your opinion…. how you wanted to love it but only liked it. I hate when that happens. the subject sounds like a great topic to explore in story tho.

  14. January 24, 2015 2:18 pm

    Even though you didn’t love it, it does sound like an interesting read.

  15. January 25, 2015 10:10 am

    Important topic, even if it wasn’t perfect.

  16. January 25, 2015 11:19 pm

    This is probably one that my friend would appreciate for her boys. She had two and just adopted two from Africa. I’ll have to see if I can find it for her.

  17. January 25, 2015 11:41 pm

    We need more books like this out there because more and more kids get adopted. I think my son might like this one.

  18. Literary Feline permalink
    January 27, 2015 2:24 pm

    What a great idea for a book! It sounds like the author dealt with the subject matter sensitively and thoroughly.

  19. January 28, 2015 10:34 pm

    Oooh! This sounds like a great topic for a book. So many adopted children think they are insufficient when the parents look to adopt another child.

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