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Always With You by Ruth Vander Zee

Always With You

by Ruth Vander Zee

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This book opened with the quote from Kim, the main character’s mother, “Kim, come to me. Don’t be afraid. I will always be with you.” I liked that the author began with this because it related to the title, and made me curious as the reader what it meant. I liked this book overall, because of the authenticity that it had throughout. Specifically, I enjoyed seeing the perspective of a little girl living in Vietnam during the war, and how that affected her.
I thought this book was good, although I don’t think it would be necessarily appropriate for younger readers (k-3rd grade). An example of where I found it to be too harsh for younger readers would be when Kim is rehashing on the day that her house was burned down and Vietnamese soldiers attacked Kim and her mother: “I heard, “here’s one left alive,” and then felt the butt of a gun crack across the back of my head on that day. I think this line is an important part of the story because it describes how the people of Vietnam were treated during the war I just don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate for younger readers.
In addition, I liked how during the more depressing parts of the book, all of the illustrations besides Kim are in black and white. An example of this is when Kim is in color like when laying next to her mother’s body alone where her blown up house had once been.
In the story, American soldiers rescue Kim and then later give her a piece of gum. She says, “Long after the sweetness was gone, I was still chewing. The gum would not go away. I thought to myself, I will keep his gum forever.” I thought this was sweet because it showed a child’s thoughts during a hard time, and thought it was Interesting and important that she befriended the American soldiers and trusted them. This story also represents something we don’t see a lot, which is a child’s perspective of what was like being attacked for innocent Vietnamese people and children.
At the end of the book when the soldiers drop Kim off at an orphanage, all of the illustrations are created using bright watercolors, as that was the most uplifting part of the boo. She then tells her doll what her mother once told her, “Don be afraid, I will always be with you.” I think the main idea of this book is to be courageous, and give readers an outlook on a hard life lived by some people in different countries. ( )
  tmalon4 | Apr 12, 2015 |
"Kim, come to me, Don't be afraid, I will always be with you" said Kim's mother to Kim before she died in the Vietnam War. Kim was rescued by US soldiers and sent to an orphanage in Vietnam where she was well cared for and felt safe. She was often reminded of her mother's words - her only memory.

Beautifully illustrated picture book that doesn't shy away from some of the more complex, and difficult topics around war. Helps readers personalize the impact of war, and reconsider the meaning of family, and the importance of hope and safety. ( )
  zsvandyk | Mar 1, 2015 |
Always with you is about a young girl name Kim, who lost her family during the Vietnam War. She was the only one who survived the bombing of her village and was rescued and brought to an orphanage by the American soldiers. I think this book is beautiful written and very touching. I don't think I will be able to read it in class with my students because I will cry. I really like that the illustrator captured Vietnam during the war so well. I also like that the author added a few Vietnamese words in the story.I knew right away that this book was based on a true story. I've heard many similar story like this one growing up and it is always sad to hear it. I'm glad that Kim was fortunate to have a happy ending. ( )
  tramtran | Feb 23, 2015 |
Heart-rending story that portrays the devastating effects of war on children. Suitable for younger children as well as older children.
  hmoy | Feb 18, 2015 |
Wow. I can not explain how riled up my emotions were as I was reading this picture book. I personally enjoyed this book for its story. The writing of the book would be for 3rd or 4th graders, but the tragic elements of this story seem to be more fitting for 5th or 6th graders. The big idea of this book is to share the cruelties of the Vietnam War for a Vietnam girl. I liked the development of the main character. From losing her mother from a bombing, the author slowly unveils of how the girl found security and safety once more. I also appreciated how the illustrations fit the content of the story. Since the author is honestly sharing her personal life, I appreciated how the illustrations were realistic. This helped me feel that this story is historical and actually happened. I also loved how the illustrator chose watercolor painting for the illustrations. The watercolors bring a soft touch to an intensely tragic story. At the end, I felt like I was reading and listening to someone genuinely share their past.

“I hear my mama's words. I will always be with you. I feel her hand on my head like a blessing. And I am not afraid.” ( )
  yyoon4 | Oct 16, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802852955, Hardcover)

After her mother is killed by an explosion that also destroys her Vietnam village, four-year-old Kim is alone and afraid. Eventually, she is rescued by soldiers who bring her to an orphanage.

Surrounded by the love of the couple who run the orphanage, the companionship of the children who live there, and her mother's promise, ?I will always be with you, ? Kim finds the strength and courage to survive.

This picture book for older readers, based on a true story from the Vietnam War, portrays the hope that exists in even the most desperate situations. Poignant illustrations capture the perseverance of the human spirit and the power of kindness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

Orphaned at the age of four when her village in Viet Nam is bombed, Kim is rescued by soldiers and raised in an orphanage, always finding comfort in her mothers last words--"Don't be afraid. I will always be with you."

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