Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai

Published December 5, 2012 by Dagmar

insideoutRecently, there have been a lot of novels written in verse.  I like the format and found a few books that I really enjoyed.  Here is one that I loved.  I thought the diary format and verse helped lighten the difficult issues the main character faces.  Short chapters also make it very attractive to reluctant readers.  One such reader in my library returned it to me, then promptly checked it out again, because she loved it so much.

Synopsis: This semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of Ha, a 10 year old girl living with her family in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  Her father is a member of the South Vietnamese navy and is missing in action.  Ha lives alone with her mother and brothers.  Ha longs for the papayas to ripen on her papaya tree and hopes that her father will return from his mission so that her mother can smile.  The family reluctantly leaves South Vietnam with their uncle on a South Vietnamese navy ship.  Conditions are terrible on the ship.  Everyone is hungry until a U.S. Navy ship arrives, providing food and a tow to a refugee camp in Guam.  The family is asked to choose a country where they would like to live.  Ha’s mother chooses the United States.  Sponsored by a family in Alabama, and dependent on the charity of others, Ha deals with being different  struggles learning English.

This book won a Newbery Honor in 2012.

2 comments on “Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai

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