Published by Harper Collins on February 22nd 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, General, People & Places, Asia, Social Issues, Emigration & Immigration
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Inside Out and Back Again is a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award! Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.
For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. 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 . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it "enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny." An author's note explains how and why Thanhha Lai translated her personal experiences into Hà's story.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai combines three of my favorite things – middle grade, history, and free verse. Inside Out And Back Again is a National Book Award winning story told in four parts about Ha and her family’s immigration from war torn Vietnam to Alabama.
The most prevalent and heartwarming theme in Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai is family. The idea that if you have family, you can weather anything really appeals to me. Ha’s family is very tightly knit and goes through everything together, helping each other bear up against the troubles they face in Vietnam and then in America. Ha’s family consists of Ha, her mother, and four brothers. Let me tell you, I really enjoyed the relationship between Ha and her brothers who each teach her something different and truly care for her.
Ha’s family are refugees from the Vietnam War, leaving the fighting in Saigon. Much of what I have read about the Vietnam War takes place from the soldier perspective, so Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai was a change of perspective. I mean, it’s probably the first Vietnam refugee book I’ve read. And I know that is said, that I get all the way to 24 years old and have never read a book told from this point of view, but really, friends, I felt as though I learned a lot from Inside Out And Back Again.
I feel as though I am beating this into your heads, but Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai is a verse book. As with most verse books — words are absolutely not wasted and we really get to see straight to Ha’s heart. ALSO Inside Out And Back Again is the second verse book I’ve read so far this year that is middle grade historical fiction. Clearly, I am doing well with the genre.
Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai is a solid two hour investment that will allow the reader the chance to see the world and the Vietnam War through another person’s eyes. I know that most books do this– show you the world through someone else’s eyes, but I just like how new the perspective of Inside Out And Back Again was to me.
Disclosure: Borrowed from my local library.
Other reviews of Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai: