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Though this Japanese-American author is able to sum up her life in eight simple words -- “laughter, writing, son, dog, California, tacos, ice cream” -- she has many memorable stories to tell young readers. Kadohata has received numerous awards and honors, including the Newbery Medal for “Kira-Kira,” the National Book Award for “The Thing About Luck,” the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award for “Weedflower” and the California Young Reader Medal for “Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam.” Her current novel is “Half a World Away” (Simon & Schuster), about a troubled Romanian boy who has been adopted by an American family and whose parents are now seeking to adopt another child from Kazakhstan.