Crystal Kite Award

Florida Book Award: Bronze Medal

VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2014

2016 Maine Student Book Award

2017 Finalist Truman Readers Award: Missouri Assoc. of School Librarians

2017 Magnolia Award Runner-up: Mississippi

2017 Garden State Teen Book Award Finalist: New Jersey

Kirkus calls the book:

“A perceptive exploration of an event its audience already sees as history.”

“…the supplemental material middle-grade history teachers are looking for…”

School Library Journal has this to say:

“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.”


Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a solider and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, Jake just wants to outsmart–and outrun–the rival cross country team, Palmetto Ridge. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens, and it’s quickly discovered that on 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 Medina, is beaten up 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, so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon, 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.

You can now order my book from these, and many other, locations:

Books and Books /  Amazon / IndieBound / Barnes & Noble / Books A  Million / Powell’s Books


“9/11 reverberates in a middle-school boy’s life,  thrusting him into a bigger and more threatening world.  This is history tensely told for readers too young to remember the moment when this century truly began.” —Richard Peck, author of  On The Wings of Heroes

“Tackling a difficult topic, Kerry O’Malley Cerra captures the mood of the country right after September 11 in a way that’s not frightening or sensationalized. This well-told, poignant novel about prejudice, school bullying, and best friends should spark discussion and capture the hearts of young readers for a very long time.” —Augusta Scattergood, author of Glory Be

Memorable characters bring to life a story of friends who, after the tragedy of September 11, must confront the darker side of their community, their families, and their hearts. Kerry Cerra is definitely a debut author to watch!” – Christina Diaz Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and Moving Target

“Kerry O’Malley Cerra has written a novel that is both brave and true. In showing us the darker sides of ourselves when confronted with tragedy and fear, her characters lead us to the light.” –Laurie Calkhoven, author of Michael at the Invasion of France, 1943 and The Boys of Wartime series

“This touching story is like the legend of the origami paper cranes, a symbols of peace, which states that if you fold one thousand of them, your heart’s desire will come true.”–Kathryn Fitzmaurice author of A Diamond in the Desert

“Just a Drop of Water brings this generation’s young readers a glimpse of September 11 that is both thought-provoking and real.”–Caroline Starr Rose, author of May B and Blue Birds

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9 thoughts on “Book: JUST A DROP OF WATER

  1. Good afternoon, I wanted to thank you for your words in Just a Drop of Water. I am a junior high English teacher in the Chicago south suburbs, and I have used your book as a curriculum reading piece for the past three school years. My students truly enjoy the real references, real history, and real emotion in your words. Thank you so much!

    I would also like to ask if you’d be interested in having a Zoom call meeting with my class when we are done reading your book? We are likely to finish it towards the end of May. Please let me know if this is something that you’d like to arrange. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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