Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

HALF A WORLD AWAY, by Cynthia Kadohata

half a world

The story: Jaden’s family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt another baby, and Jaden knows why: it’s because he’s such a failure as a son. He’s got a whole bunch of terrible habits, but the worst of them is that he can’t bring himself to love his adoptive parents, even after all these years. It’s only after he meets toddler Dimash at the orphanage, and realizes he’s the only one who cares enough to ever make a difference in the boy’s life, that Jaden suddenly learns what it’s like to care about someone else. Problem is, it doesn’t look like it’s going to make any difference, which is the worst feeling of all.

Mrs. Friend’s opinion: This story will give you a look into several different worlds: what’s it like in a crummy third-world country; what it’s like to be adopted from a country like that, and what it’s like to be a mystery to yourself and others.


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