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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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1,3141815,924 (4.24)67
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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Inside Out and Back Again Historical Fiction
By Thanhha Lai

“Inside Out and Back Again” is a children’s historical fiction chapter book that is told in the form of poetry (rather than prose). The main character, Ha, is a ten-year-old girl who lived in Siagon during the Vietnam War. Because of the increasing danger the war posed for Ha and her family, the family moved to America (Alabama). I appreciated how Lai segmented the book in to 3 sections that were determined by location. This allowed for the reader to follow the book clearly. In addition, the free verse poetry made “Inside Out and Back Again” feel like a quicker read. I never felt as if events were moving slowly or sentences were dragging on. When reading I found that telling the story from Ha’s point of view (first person) was humorous at times and made the book feel very authentic. For example, Ha called her friend Pam, Pem. This is somewhat humorous because that is how she would pronounce her name with her accent. I also thought that reading about how Ha was bullied from a first person perspective made it feel real and really put the reader in Ha’s shoes. However, one aspect that I did not like was the fact that there were some time gaps in the story and the short free verse poems did not provide a lot of detail for the reader. Overall, the moral of the story is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is a concept that is often difficult for children, and sometimes even for adults. Ha did not deserve the bullying she suffered because her classmates and neighbors had no sympathy or empathy for her. “Inside Out and Back Again” was a good read and I would recommend it for 4th-6th grade students and any other reader interested in immigration, bullying, and perhaps the Vietnam War. ( )
  LBurro2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
This story is about a refugee family from Vietnam. They escape Vietnam and come to America. It shows the readers the struggles of being a refugee. I really like this book because of the perspective it was from. Normally when I've learned about the Vietnam War I only learned about Americans and the soldiers. This story gave me new insight onto what was going on there and why the United States intervened. The book was written in poem form which I really didn't like. It is very creative, but it is just not the way I want to read a story. ( )
  fmccas1 | Nov 3, 2015 |
Inside Out and Back Again
This was a first experience for me, in reading a whole book that was written through poetry. It was a pretty cool read and I enjoyed reading it through poem. The purpose of this book was to tell a story of a family that was forced to move to the United States due to the Vietnam War and the dangers that it brought. I really liked that the whole book was told through poems because it made it an easy read and it was fun to link the poems together to make a story. One thing that I didn’t really like was that the poems couldn’t stand alone by their self. There are quite a number of poems in the book that if you take out and just present to somebody, they would have no meaning and would lose their value which I can understand because it would be near impossible to create an entire story using many poems without having one or two be sort of meaningless out of context. I also liked that this book is basically a true story with a little enrichment. At the end of the book the author explained that a lot of what was in the story actually happened to her and she tried to stay as close to her story as possible but had to put in some fillers and things that weren’t exactly true in her case but things that did go on during this time. For me this was nice because it was able to give you a perspective outside of just her experience and allowed the reader to see other things that could have happened too. The author stated that “I really tried to capture Ha’s emotional life and what it would be like to live in a time where you may hear bombs exploding close by”. ( )
  JaylenWhite | Nov 2, 2015 |
Inside Out and Back Again is about a girl who has to escape from the Vietnam War. The book is all of her prayers. She and her family are worried about her father that went to war. When they arrive in America, they are teased. In the end, it is sad when they find out her dad is dead. I liked the book because the family was very close. I also liked it because it was historical fiction. ( )
  XantheS17 | Oct 27, 2015 |
Inside Out and Back Again is a well-crafted chapter book that explores the immigration process through the eyes of a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl, named Ha. However, the book is written through a series of poems; more like thoughts. At the beginning of the story, Ha and her mother and three brothers are forced to leave their homeland, Saigon, due to the Vietnam war closing in. Just as they are boarding the ship to leave, Saigon falls to the communists.
Swollen is sorrow and confusion, Ha and her family are forced to seek refuge in America. They are sponsored by an American cowboy who gives them shelter and a place to start. While Ha experiences many difficulties understanding American culture, she finds most of her troubles to be in the classroom where she must learn English. Over time, Ha and her family are accepted into the community by neighbors and her school and they adapt to the United States culture. The theme is this book revolves around the concept of family, and staying close to your loved ones. Although Ha and he her family face many harsh obstacles during their move, the power of love holds them together and may be just what it takes for them to survive. “Mother smiles so hard, she cries.” Despite the harsh realities in this book, I believe it presents a truthful and inspiring perspective for immigrants in American schools. Not to mention, the poetry adds a unique style of speech to the overall plot. I approve! ( )
  EllieCoe | Oct 18, 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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:04 -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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