Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Feeling Inside Out...

Ha has lived in Saigon for all of her life, though things have been different, especially recently. Her dad has been gone most of her ten years, and she worries that she will never see him again. But she has to be brave, and she has to have hope. When the Vietnam War hits Saigon, it's time for Ha, her mother, and her brothers to move somewhere safe. Taking only one item each, they travel by boat far away from the only home Ha has ever known. The journey isn’t easy, and it's the worst experience of her young life. When the boat has finally reached safety, Ha is still not at her final destination. More moving and adjusting will take place before her family is sponsored, and they move to a state called Alabama. Now she needs to try to fit in, only she doesn’t speak the language, and many people already think they know who she is and what she is about. What will Ha’s life be like in America? Will she find friends and be accepted? Is her family ever going to see father again? What would you pick if you could only take one item from your home? You must follow along with Ha on her journey to find out what happens!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai is based on the author’s experience leaving Vietnam as a young girl. The story is told in verse. I had never read a chapter book written in verse, and I was concerned that I might not like it. This was not the case! Ha’s emotions came through in beautiful stanzas. The short chapters and text made it easy for me to read a huge chunk of the book at once, and then to read parts when I only had a little time. Ha’s relationship with her siblings was easy to relate to, and I liked reading her perspective on the life changing journey. I would definitely recommend this book to fourth through eighth graders. I think many adults would learn a lot from seeing the world through Ha’s eyes. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book, and I think it would help a lot of kids to see what life is like for someone during wartime, and why peace is so important. I look forward to reading another book by this author.

Has anyone else read Inside Out and Back Again? Or have you read another book by Thanhha Lai? We would love to hear your thoughts! 
Happy Reading!
~L

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42 comments:

  1. Glad you liked this. I wasn't sure I'd like reading something in verse the first time I tried it, but I enjoyed it too.

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    1. Natalie- I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it too! So fun to read a book written with such a different style. :) ~L

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  2. I love this cover! So pretty. I do enjoy books in verse every once in a while.

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    1. Kelly- I agree that the cover is so beautiful. Very eye-catching. :) ~L

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  3. Sounds good, I'd read it. I haven't read many books in verse...

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    1. Gaby- The style makes it a very fast read. I hope you get to read it! :) ~L

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  4. Loving the cover and the fact its written in verse which is something I enjoy when the book is written for the younger reader.

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    1. Tracy- I think you will enjoy this book. The style is perfect for the story and the cover is awesome! :) ~L

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  5. This sounds like I book I could definitely get into!

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  6. I do wonder if I could actually read a book in verse...but now I think that I could!

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    1. Patty- I wasn't sure about reading a book in verse, but the story really flows and the style makes it a quick, but deep read. :) ~L

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  7. I've read this one (and again, aloud, to my daughter -- which made its sparse language all the more powerful) and loved it. It's incredibly sad but hopeful and certainly shows the power of the human spirit.

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    1. Barbara- I can imagine reading the book aloud would make the language even more beautiful. I agree with you about the sadness and hope throughout the book. :) ~L

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  8. I read this book in one hour! I just couldn't put it down once I started reading! I was also worried about the entire book being in verse, but I thought it worked well for the author's voice and the subject. I LOVED this book!

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    1. Dena- I love that you couldn't put down Inside Out and Back Again once you got started. It is a great read and one that can be read quickly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :) ~L

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  9. I have yet to read a chapter verse book and to think that this one is about Vietnam. Two excellent reasons to read this. Thanks for calling my attention to it.

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    1. Heidi- Glad to let you know about this powerful book. It is unique in style and the story will grab you. Enjoy! :) ~L

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  10. The cover is great and the book sounds awesome.

    Nas

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    1. Nas- Isn't the cover awesome? Love it! :) ~L

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  11. Such a pretty cover! I haven't read a novel in verse, but this one sounds really good.

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    1. Cherie- This is a wonderful story that will touch your heart. You will fall right into the style and be swept away. :) ~L

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  12. Brings back memories of the Vietnam war. A book based on the author's experiences and written in verse sound like such a great read.

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    1. Donna- I really liked that the book was written bases on the author's experiences (though she went through a lot, her experience spoke volumes). Thanks for stopping by. :) ~L

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  13. This sounds amazing! I haven't read anything in verse in quite a long time.

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    1. Meradeth- It is an amazing read. :) ~L

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  14. Yes, I have! My students and I loved this. Till this day, I still remember Ha, her mother and her Bruce-Lee-loving brother. Novels-in verse (the ones I've read , anyway) are intimate and moving.

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    1. Claudine- So happy to hear that you and your students loved Inside Out and Back Again! I agree that the fact that the book is in verse adds to the intimacy factor. :) ~L

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  15. The subject matter is fascinating and I am so glad the verse worked for you. My daughter loves books in verse and I will share this title with her.

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    1. Kimba- It is a fascinating read. If your daughter enjoyed books in verse then I know she will love this one. :) ~L

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  16. I haven't read this, but I've read MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose and OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse, and both are in verse. I would like to read this too.

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    1. Joanne- I have Out of the Dust to read, but I haven't read it yet. I know after reading Inside Out and Back Again that I should read another book in verse soon. :) ~L

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  17. Hey Jess! We'll be getting this. It sounds terrific! I heart novels in verse. The ones we've read have been spectacular. My editor is doing one. They are popular with teens. *waves*

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    1. Hi Robyn- I am glad to hear that you will be getting this one. So glad to hear that you love novels in verse. So exciting to see how much kids and teens are enjoying books in this style. Thanks for visiting! :) ~L

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  18. We've never read a book by this author, but I think we're going to have to change that. Inside Out & Back Again sounds incredible (and also heartbreaking) -- we'll be adding this one to our TBR for sure! If I had to pick one item to take with me from my home, it would probably be my Kindle. Katertot says she would either take a photo album or a keepsake of hers. Fantastic review, ladies! *hugs*

    --Michele & Katertot @ A Belle's Tales

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    1. Michele and Katertot- This was my first book by this author too. If you guys pick this one up you will be able to read it in a day (or less). Thanks for sharing the items you would take! Both sound like great choices for different reasons. Hard to pick one thing! :) ~L

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  19. I read it not too long after the release. I loved it.

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    1. Medeia- Yeah! So happy to hear that you read and loved it. :) ~L

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  20. I can see this being a great book to introduce kids to the Vietnam War and even me. I've heard of this book before. I've never found a verse book I loved before so I'm willing to explore this story. I have no idea what I would bring... probably the one book that I can read time after time and still love.

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    1. Adriana- It is a great book to introduce kids to the Vietnam War. I learned a lot about what people went through from reading it. I think you will enjoy Inside Out and Back Again, Ha's voice really comes through. I love the idea of bring a book that has been read over and over again. :) ~L

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  21. Excellent story. I'm enjoying verse more and more. It took some getting use to for me, but now I'm a fan.

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    1. Lee- Glad to hear that you are enjoying books in verse more and more. I have only read one so far, but I did enjoy it and look forward to reading more. :) ~L

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