Inside Out & Back Again

2011

 

This is one of several notable historical fiction books for young adults written in recent years about the Vietnam War.  In this book, the author, Thanhha Lai, recounts some of her memories of coming to the United States as a child.  Set in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, 10 year old Ha, her mother and three brothers wait years for news of their father who is missing in action.  Finally, on the eve of the fall of Saigon, they flee. They will journey from a tent in Guam to a new life in Alabama. However, building a new life in America is harder than they expected.  Kind local sponsors in Alabama cannot protect Ha and her brothers from sneering and bullying from other locals while Mom struggles with accepting the possibility that her husband is gone forever.  This book in short free verse is poetically loose and gracefully written.  Inside Out & Back Again was winner of a 2011 National Book Award, has many starred reviews, and was selected as a 2012-2013 middle school Read On Wisconsin book.  Recommended for grades 5-8.

 

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