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A trip to Kazakhstan changes Jaden

Book: Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

Ages: 10+

Relationship to country: A boy named Jaden takes a trip to Kazakhstan 

Book in a nutshell: A boy named Jaden was adopted and slowly learns to love his new family


In this book, an eleven-year-old boy named Jaden was from Romania but was adopted by a family living in the United States, Penni and Steve. Jaden is having a very hard time adjusting to his new life and his new family, and he gets angry a lot. Some of the story was not totally appropriate for an 8 year old, and my mom thinks maybe ages 10 and up. But I stayed up late and finished this book anyway.

Steve and Penni are planning to adopt a new baby boy from Kazakhstan. This is hard for Jaden because he was not a baby when he was adopted, and he thinks they want a baby because they aren't satisfied with him. This isn't true because Penni and Steve really love Jaden, but that's what he thinks. The whole family goes to Kazakhstan to adopt the new baby brother, but everything kind of goes wrong.

While they are in Kazakhstan, Jaden starts to bond with a toddler in an orphanage. Penni and Steve weren't looking for a toddler at the time, but this toddler becomes so special to Jaden. He starts to realize that he can love. I won't tell you the end of the book, but the trip to Kazakhstan really changes Jaden's life.