Monday, April 23, 2012

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Summary from Dust Jacket:
No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, HÀ has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. HÀ and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, HÀ discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

What I thought: I liked this book for several reasons. First, it's based on fact. Second, it's a verse novel and in the format I prefer--titled poems and these are further subdivided by place. Thirdly, it's about a time and a people I know little about. In all my history classes, we never made it to the Vietnam War. Sad, I know, but true. Hà's story was deeply moving and will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced prejudice. I love Hà's spunk. After reading Inside Out & Back Again, I see why it won the National Book Award.

(Harper, 2011. National Book Award Winner)

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