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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Thanhha Lai

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1,1351317,212 (4.26)61
Title:Inside Out and Back Again
Authors:Thanhha Lai
Info:HarperCollins (2011), Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Newberry Award, young girl, Vietnam, bully

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Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011)


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Ha must leave Saigon with her family for America. On their long and difficult journey, food is scarce. They also must learn a new language, the language of their new home, America. Ha’s family experiences a great deal of loss, including the death of her father who had to remain in their home country. The book ends with hope for their new life in America.

Personal Reaction: This book is written beautifully. It is an eloquent way to share the personal experiences of one family with young readers. It is difficult to imagine what life was like for refugees like Ha’s family. This book goes a long way to close the gap in understanding, even for children that are far too young to remember the war or sociopolitical climate themselves.

Classroom extensions:
Children can draw a picture of what they love about their home (would miss the most if they had to leave it behind), perhaps comparing it to the Ha’s dearly loved papaya tree.

Extend the story, in what ways do things begin to become better for Ha and her family? Would you want to be friends with Ha? ( )
  Lena_Krenzke | Mar 23, 2015 |
A book written in the form of a diary of a young girl who is a refugee from Vietnam after the war. She moves to Alabama and starts a life there with her family, having to learn English and how to make friends.
  elindseyziegler | Mar 15, 2015 |
A beautiful story of survival and determination.
  sbalicki | Mar 14, 2015 |
This book is a very different book from the other stories I have read this semester. I liked how this book told the story all through poems. I thought this idea was very creative and a powerful way to tell the story for the readers. Each poem had one theme that may be as short as two or three lines or as long as two or three pages. I felt the poems made me more interested in the book and story itself.
I also enjoyed how the book was based of a child’s view of immigration. We know the struggle of immigration as a whole for families but this book takes you through how the little girl feels being the youngest and trying to understand a whole new language and culture. The reader sees the challenges as the little girl is in school and wants to understand her classmates and teacher but simply cannot.
The big idea from this book was the importance of love and family. If Ha’s family didn’t stay together and believe in a better life ahead of them, they would have never been able to stay positive and survive in the United States. ( )
  Toconn2 | Mar 13, 2015 |
Wonderfully insightful book about the one-year journey of a young girl who leaves war-torn Vietnam as a refugee. Ha is a sensitive, inquisitive, 10-year old girl from Saigon who must leave her beautiful country with her brothers and mother as refugees during the Vietnam war. Ha and her family arrive in Alabama to live with a host family where she struggles with understanding and learning the complex English language, feeling dumb, and being different from other children in school. The book beautifully describes the journey of learning a new culture and exploring the concept of home. Ha powerfully articulates her emotions about not having good friends and being made fun of by others for being different. Ha discovers a strength and resilience in herself and her other family members. ( )
  zsvandyk | Feb 28, 2015 |
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To the millions of refugees in the world, may you each find a home
First words
1975: Year of the Cat / Today is Tet, / the first day / of the lunar calendar. / Every Tet / we eat sugary lotus seeds / and glutinous rice cakes. / We wear all new clothes, / even underneath.
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Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061962783, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:28 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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