Read Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O'Malley Cerra Online


Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart—and outrun—the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hotEver since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart—and outrun—the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hot spot. Two days later, the tragedy becomes even more personal when Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, is pummeled for being an Arab Muslim by their bully classmate, Bobby.According to Jake’s personal code of conduct, anyone who beats up your best friend is due for a butt kicking, and so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon after, Sam’s father is detained by the FBI and Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. But the final blow comes when his grandpa’s real past is revealed to Jake. Suddenly, everything he ever knew to be true feels like one big lie. In the end, he must decide: either walk away from Sam and the revenge that Bobby has planned, or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.A gripping and intensely touching debut middle grade novel by Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Just a Drop of Water brings the events of September 11, which shook the world, into the lens of a young boy who is desperately trying to understand the ramifications of this life-altering event.Winner of a Florida Book Award, the Crystal Kite Award, and named to VOYAs Top Shelf Fiction for Middle Readers' 2014 list, Just a Drop of Water is a read for all age levels....

Title : Just a Drop of Water
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781629146133
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Just a Drop of Water Reviews

  • LolaReviewer
    2019-05-26 23:20

    I’m so happy such a diverse, realistically-told, family and friendship-focused and touching middle grade book was written.I won’t lie, I wasn’t attracted to this book at all at first. That cover, meh. That plot, maybe? I wasn’t even supposed to read it, but unexpected book mail is always welcome. The moment I started it though, I knew this would be a story I wouldn’t forget. Jake is such an authentic thirteen-year-old boy who tries to make sense of the 11/09/2001 catastrophic event.His best friend, Sam, whose family is Muslim, started being bullied after the events of the towers falling. Jake does his best to protect and defend him and his family, but as much as he wants for everything to go back to normal, he by himself cannot open the eyes of thousands of people who believe Islam and its believers are their new enemies.But he sure as hell is going to try. Lines become blurred, friendships threaten to break, secrets are revealed…What a beautifully-written book. Cerra captured the emotions thirteen-year-olds are bound to feel when such a tragedy occurs so, so well. I’m disappointed this book hasn’t gotten more attention, because it, without a doubt, deserves it.Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  • Debbie O
    2019-05-24 23:08

    Just a Drop of Water, is an engaging story geared for middle grade readers. However the theme and the messages conveyed in the book span all ages. Reading this story I was inspired by Jake's struggle, his perseverance and ultimately his choices.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-04-29 17:02

    A powerful tale of trust and friendship, Just A Drop of Water deals with heavy topics but in the end asks the biggest question of all... are we so afraid that it's making us blind to the good of humanity?

  • Stacey Lee
    2019-05-09 20:23

    13 yo Jake is best friends with a Muslim boy named Sam. After the events of September 11, Sam's dad is interrogated for possible connections to the terrorists. School friends begin taking sides. When Jake's mom begins to question Sam's family's innocence, and Jake is forced to make a decision - stand up for his friend, or walk away. Truly moving account of the events of 9/11 from the perspective of a kid. I loved this book. Jake and Sam felt absolutely real, and their choices, authentic. Voices are fresh, and engaging. Read it to your kids!

  • Cindy Rodriguez
    2019-05-09 20:55

    I was able to read this ARC as a member of the Fearless Fiteeners. Kerry's debut novel allows middle schoolers to experience the events of 9/11 through the eyes of Jake Green, a character their own age. As a teacher, I think this is an ideal way to introduce students to tough subjects and moments in history. The description of the attacks on 9/11 gave me chills, and the things that happen with Jake's family and friends afterward are examples of what happened throughout the country. Kerry also "gets" middle school boy in that Jake is confident one minute and confused the next, all the while believing he is right and can fix things :.)

  • David
    2019-05-12 20:57

    A Must Read-- no really. I had the good fortune of reading this book when I was in a writing workshop with the author. I also had the misfortune of witnessing 9/11 from my side of the Hudson river where we lived on that day.I always wondered how the other part of America viewed the event and it absolutely shocked me to discover, through reading this book, that perhaps the rest of America had just as profound and visceral a reaction to the event as anyone who witnessed it up close.America was different after that day, and I believe this is one of those books that will help tell our young ones exactly what it was like to be one thing one day and something completely different the next. The book is wonderfully written and set in a very unique setting. This novel magnificently captures the pulse of the nation both big and small as all of us, even those in the far corners of Florida, struggled with the horror of that day.I can't recommend this book highly enough for having the boldness to tell a story so close to the soul of America. Kudos to the author and if you are still considering whether or not to read this book... I'm insisting that you must.

  • Wendy
    2019-05-22 20:21

    This was an absolutely wonderful book! The story is captivating, resonated with feelings and reactions I had myself regarding 9/11, and was wonderfully entertaining as well. I fell in love with the characters and was amazed how the author captured the different moods and feelings of every age group, during that very sad time in American history. I would highly recommend this book for readers of any age.

  • Dorothy Decarli
    2019-05-16 23:58

    Loved it! Reliving September 11, through the eyes of a 13 year old boy brings back the memories of fear, sadness, hatred, patriotism and resilience. Kids who were not alive then will be able to share this part of history with the adults in their life in a positive, thought provoking way.

  • Leslie Balding
    2019-05-08 22:08

    The conversation and thoughts flowed effortlessly..I was so engrossed I found myself feeling protective over the characters..wanting to right the wrongs..excellent book for people too young to remember the events of that tragic day.Superb.

  • Meredith
    2019-05-09 23:08

    The story of two boys—one Christian, one Muslim—whose friendship is tested in the days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A powerful, important book, and a must-read for all age levels.

  • Marge Keller
    2019-05-11 17:59

    Good book -- good explanations. Worked well to introduce facts. Race/religious views. Both boys and girls will like it. Touching. Interesting relationship with parents. Adding Wilkey's was interesting.

  • Nicole Cabrera
    2019-05-15 22:04

    Kerry, is a masterful storyteller. She'll have you sprinting for the last page. Stunningly crafted. Get your copy today.

  • Aspen
    2019-04-26 00:24

    This is one of my favorite books of all time! It makes you want to keep reading it and is very unpredictable.

  • Ms. Yingling
    2019-04-26 20:58

    Jake doesn’t like to run cross country but loves track, and knows that his coach demands that he do cross country or he’ll be cut in the spring. He hopes to be made a team captain along with his long time best friend Sam, but a new boy and fast runner, Kirk, is made captain instead. When the Twin Towers in New York are bombed, Jake’s world is shaken. His mother, whose father was killed in a war, is nervous and upset, especially since his father had flown on business on Monday the 10th. One of the bombers was from the boys town of Coral Springs, Florida, and had withdrawn a large amount of money at the bank and was assisted by Sam’s father. Because his card was found with the terrorists things, he is questioned by the FBI and eventually taken away… because the family is Muslim. Sam suffers greatly at the hands of local bullies Bobby and Rigo, who are targeting any Muslims they can find. To make matters worse, Kirk’s father was working at the Pentagon and was killed. Cross country meets are suspended, school is a tense place to be, and both Jake and Sam are struggling to get through the days following the bombing. The school decides to try to help students by planning a peace assembly, and Jake realizes that Bobby and Rigo have something planned. Can he stop them from being complete idiots and causing even more pain to the community? Jake’s grandmother believes that “just a drop of water” can have a big impact, and Jake starts to realize that he can, too. Strengths: This book does an excellent job of addressing a need in historical fiction—9/11. By next year, all of the students in our school will be much too young to remember 9/11. Not only was the day itself described much as I remember it, but the aftermath of public outcry and support are also accurate. Jake, Sam, and Kirk all have ties to the event that are convincingly described, and the cross country details are good as well. Sam’s lack of knowledge about his cultural heritage and then his suffering on behalf of it are a genius stroke. Weaknesses: While the involvement of Jake’s grandfather in a previous war situation is a nice twist, and the presence of a neighbor who was in WWII adds some depth to the story, it also makes it slightly confusing.

  • Erin
    2019-05-10 21:59

    Wow. It's hard to believe that a book set immediately before, during, and after September 11th, 2001 is historical fiction, but for the kids whom this book is targeted at, it is. I appreciate the perspective of the book--I think it is unique to have a book about September 11th that doesn't take place in New York and although the main character didn't have anyone close to him die in the attacks, he still feels the reverberations in his life. Jake lives a normal life in a Florida town. He runs cross country (although he'd rather just stick to track), he and his best friend Sam play video games that Jake's mom probably wouldn't approve of, and Jake even has to help his elderly neighbors with their yard work (under duress, of course). Jake's normal life, sense of safety, and who is on the 'good' side and 'bad' side are completely shattered on September 11th, 2001. His mom is terrified of everything, guys at school are harassing Sam because Sam is of Middle Eastern descent, and Sam's dad has a seemingly insignificant connection to one of the terrorists living in Jake's town that brings the FBI to Sam's door. I don't know if I would read this again, simply because I think it's a book that you can read once and walk away from it feeling like you got everything you need from it. Jake struggles with what it means to be a hero, he struggles with being 13 and being sheltered from somethings but witnessing others, he struggles with these new terms being thrown around in the news. Jake's voice and thoughts feel like what I remember feeling that day, so I appreciate that. I think this is a book for the classroom, or for parents and kids to read together, because the conversations that would come of it would be just as good as the book itself.

  • Samantha
    2019-04-26 22:08

    This historical fiction novel takes place in the days leading up to and after September 11th, 2001. Set in Coral Springs, Florida the main character, Jake Green, struggles with the knowledge that one of the hijackers was living in his town prior to the attacks. His best friend and neighbor, Sam Medina, an Arab Muslim is targeted by boys in their class whose actions and behavior towards persons of Arab descent is disrespectful and volatile. When Sam’s father is taken into FBI custody after it is discovered that he serviced the hijacker at the bank he’s employed at prior to September 11th, Jake finds himself at odds with his immediate family as he defends his best friend’s honor and tries to help bring Mr. Medina home. Tensions run high at Jake’s house as he tries to make sense of his mother’s seasoned prejudices based on family history that Jake doesn’t fully understand. His interest in history and war leads him to develop a relationship with a mysterious neighbor who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath which contained similar social sentiments. The author is a former history teacher and uses the friendship between two boys on either side of the divide during a national tragedy to transport middle grade readers into the highly emotional experience of a pivotal point in modern American history. Historical fact and realistic fiction elements are woven together with an expert hand making readers care about this moment in history and giving educators an excellent book sure to spur thoughtful discussion. Grades 5-8.

  • Juli
    2019-05-01 18:09

    The students that I will have this year (2015-2016) were born after 9/11. Often when I bring up the events or after-effects of 9/11, I've been faced with vacant stares. The students have little or no understanding of the history presented in JUST A DROP OF WATER other than the generalizations that terrorists flew into tall buildings and killed hundreds. Kerry O'Malley Cerra has written a perfect middle-school appropriate narrative, a mix of "what ifs" that reflects a variety of ideas, emotions and events that happened after the terrorism attacks on 9/11. Through the eyes of her main character, Jake, and his friends, classmates, family and neighbors, the read gets a broad overview of history.Unfortunately, hatred, mistrust and misunderstandings still exist in the United States and across the world. This is a middle grade book that I will definitely share with my students (7th/8th grades) and recommend be purchased for class/small group study. I foresee this story sparking deeper understandings and authentic discussions on not only the historical impact of 9/11, but on how race relations, ethnicity and terrorism play a part in our nation's current dialogue.Kudos, Ms. Cerra, on helping educators like myself, parents, and young readers bridge that gap between knowledge and understanding with this book!

  • Matt Ostrowsky
    2019-05-14 21:10

    This. Book. Was. Amazing. I'd give it 6 stars out of 5 if I could. I was hoping it'd be one for my elementary school students to read, but there are some themes and parts of the book that are pretty intense for younger readers.I love that the main character's favorite football team is Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love. Because brotherly love is precisely what Jake Green shows throughout the story, despite his own anger and mixed emotions in the weeks following September 11, 2001. I also love that his best friend's name means "bravery." As a Muslim-American, Sameed finds himself the victim of ignorance and hatred from schoolmates and community members. And like his friend, Jake, he has to show bravery to learn more about who he is and then stand up for it.There's a very important lesson of brotherly love and acceptance for others' beliefs to be learned from this story. The meaning of the title alone (as explained in the last few chapters) is something that all young readers should embrace. This is a book that should be in all middle school Media Centers!

  • Sandra Stiles
    2019-04-30 17:00

    I have read three stories in the last few days about 9/11 for middle grade students. This story is by far my favorite. Jake and Sam have been best friends for years. They run cross country together. They have become friends with the new kid Kirk. His father works in Washington. When 9/11 happens their friendship will be tested. Shortly after this terrible event, Jake's mother begins to flip out. When Jake and Sam's friend Bobby turns against Sam, Jake takes revenge.The reason is simple, Sam is a Muslim American. He has never practiced his religion so he knows nothing about it. When his father is questioned and then taken away by the FBI, people begin to think the worst. This story shows two things. It shows how so many people came together, and it also shows how some people let fear affect them. When prejudice rears its ugly head what lessons will each of the characters learn?This is a book I will be reading with my students starting next week. I am so pleased to have had several sites recommend this as a must read book for middle grade classrooms.

  • Maria
    2019-05-14 17:57

    'Just a Drop of Water' should be on all middle school reading lists. Kerry O'Malley Cerra brings to life the sensitive topic of September 11, 2001 through the eyes, thoughts and raw passion of 13 year old Jake Green. She truly captures the real emotion and struggle of a young teenager as he strives to make sense of his world as it is suddenly turned upside down. Readers, regardless of age, can relate to the memorable characters painted for us in a realistic way. I will be using Cerra's novel to bring to life for my 8th grader events in history that she has only heard about. What better way to open up discussion of the time period surrounding 9/11 than through Jake Green as he struggles to understand the web of conflicts that are thrust into his community. Our family will need more copies of this page-turner!

  • Jean-Marie
    2019-04-26 23:17

    America became a different country following the events of September 11, 2001. This book looks at one teen's perspective immediately before, during and after that fateful day. Somehow the author was able to artfully bring to light many complex issues at once: war vs. peace, tolerance, religion, hate, PTSD, friendship, family and so much more. This is an excellent read/read aloud for middle school students. Although it takes place in 2001, many of the themes are, unfortunately, still relevant today. It touches on sensitive and emotional subject matter, but is an excellent opportunity to introduce young readers to a painful moment in our recent history.

  • Christy H
    2019-05-22 23:21

    Just a drop of water is must read! 13 year old Jake Green's struggle to understand his world in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedies is deeply moving. Jake is forced to question and rethink everything he believes to be right and just as he defends the honor of his best friend Sam (Sameed) Medina, a Muslim American.The messages of faith, courage, hope and loyalty emerge as Jake confronts his parents, his classmates and his community in the name of Sam. A wonderfully honest story that everyone can relate to!

  • K
    2019-05-24 23:01

    A moving, complicated story that brought tears to my eyes as it depicted the events of 9/11 through the eyes of a middle school boy. The characters are believable and complicated and very human, and I was particularly struck by how the adults in the story weren't always able to cope, and how things were left unresolved--a powerful and true-to-life take on childhood and the loss of innocence. A quick, page-turning read with heartwarming characters and plot twists that kept me guessing!

  • Naomi Agmon
    2019-05-07 19:01

    This book is a "must read" ! Once I started I couldn't put it down. Has some great messages both for kids and for parents. Set around the events of 9/11 in a small South Florida town, it stresses the importance of acceptance of others, which is as important today as it was in 2001. I shed more than "Just a Drop of Water" while reading this!

  • Michael
    2019-04-29 17:22

    Very factual account of the time just before and after September 11. As an educator, I hope all middle schools and upper elementary schools will use this in the classroom to help kids understand a time period that changed modern America.

  • Hillary Moldovan
    2019-05-14 00:12

    Wonderful book! I could see using this ad a read-aloud whole class study or an advanced reading group (5th grade). Much discussion of character development and motived. I believe the author brought an incredible time tolife, through the eyes of a young teen.

  • Beth
    2019-05-24 17:18

    4.25 stars. This book is about so much more than 9/11, but the author covers that subject in a truly excellent way. Can't wait to share with my 8th graders!

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-13 18:08

    Jake is a typical 8th grader in a small Florida town in September of 2001. His best friend is Sam Madina, and their families spend lots of time together. Jake and Sam are both runners, hoping to be team captains for the year. Everything changes, though, on 9/11. Suddenly the school bullies are attacking Sam, and Jake keeps getting into fights defending him. Even his parents betray him, his mother fearful of the Madinas, and his father not standing up to the bully’s father. Sam is pulling away, too, getting more interested in going to his mosque, especially when the FBI take his father away because his father once met one of the hijackers at the bank where he works. Jake doesn’t understand why no one sees what’s obvious to him, even as everyone tries to help him see that there are more layers and complications to life than he’s yet able to comprehend.This was a difficult book to read, being so full of Jake’s rage and all the difficult things happening to Sam and his family. It’s accurate, though, showing a whole range of reactions to 9/11, and helping kids of 2014 understand what it was like back then, before they were born, and why it was such a significant event. Jake is a very typical, brash, black-and-white thinking boy, resolute and courageous to the point of being bull-headed. To him, everything seems obvious, and kids reading it might agree with him. As he reluctantly comes to see that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that life is more complex than he suspected-—including within his own family, and within Sam’s-—we can only hope that kids reading it will see some of what Jake does.

  • Brenda
    2019-05-13 23:56

    Jake and Sam have been friends since kindergarten, they've also been making plans to be co-captains of the cross country team since sixth grade. But when new boy, Kirk takes his spot, Jake is devastated. That is until the events of September 11th unfold. Things like cross country, end up taking a backseat, when your father is out of town and your not even sure if he is OK. Then details come out that the bombers lived in Jake's home town of Coral Springs and they even used Sam's dad's bank. Sam's dad even ends up being detained and questioned by the FBI because the family is Muslim and they find his business card among the bombers things. However, the most devastating thing is that Kirk's father was one of the people who was killed while working at the Pentagon. Just a Drop of Water illustrates the aftermath of the events surrounding September 11th. Both the targeting of Muslims and also those that came out in support. O'Malley Cerra provides many of the details that surrounded the events, including the initial pain people felt, worry, fear and then the growing sense of community, love of country and the appearance of American flags in peoples yards. A difficult topic but one with wonderful messaging. I received a review copy from Sky Pony Press for consideration for the 2014 Cybils award in Middle Grade fiction.

  • Melody Maysonet
    2019-05-04 23:19

    Jake is a good kid, but not too good, which makes him all the more believable. He’s fiercely loyal, but also a bit of a hothead. Open-minded, but not immune to snap judgments. Kind, but not one to shy away from payback. It’s that last part that gets him in trouble when--after the tragic events of September 11, 2001--he defends his best friend Sam, who happens to be Muslim. While reading this book, I was imagining being a 13-year-old kid who can’t help but see 9-11 as this devastating thing that happened a long time ago. Well, JUST A DROP OF WATER brings that tragic page of history to life—tastefully and honestly. Jake is someone to root for, and so is his Muslim friend Sam. Their fears and ambitions are relatable, and as with all great middle-grade books, the adults in Jake’s life don’t have all the answers. I can imagine that middle-grade teachers will love this book for its historic value, and also for the lessons it teaches in tolerance. I know I did.