Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by HarperCollins
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.
This book is simply amazing. The story of a young girl's life as she goes through a major change during such a tumultuous time in history is beautifully written and allows readers to see what it was like from a different perspective. Since this was based on the author's life, there is an authenticity on these pages that allows readers to experience the grief, change, fear, and so much more. It was amazing to me how we tend to think that we experience things that are particular to us, but this novel shows how so many things we experience are universal. Simply stated, I loved this book.
This book is one that Social Studies teachers should have in their classrooms. When teaching about the Vietnam War, there are many books that teachers can use to discuss the American side of it. This book, however, shows another perspective of the Vietnam War and allows readers to experience that through the eyes of someone who experienced it first hand. This book would be a great mentor text to give to a group of students to read or even as a great read aloud.