Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where Will Ha Go?

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. We're spotlighting this book again, because we'll be chatting with Thanhha Lai this Friday, and it will be amazing to learn more about this story. It's told in verse, and I had never read a chapter book written in verse. 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! 

Stop by Friday, March 6th for an exclusive interview with Thanhha Lai. 

Happy Reading!
~L

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46 comments:

  1. Kids can learn so much from such a book. Just perfect.

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  2. This is a totally new author for me.

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  3. no but I will be reading, this sounds fantastic!

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    1. Beth Ellyn- It is a fantastic book and you can read it quickly too! :) ~L

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  4. Sounds like an interesting book, especially written in verse. I have a grand niece in 4th grade; I'm thinking this could be a good present for her down the line. Thanks for featuring it!

    betty

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  5. Loving that history can be made to come to life for children in this way.

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    1. Tracy- I thought it was a great way to learn about history! :) ~L

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    2. Betty- It wouldn't let me comment under your comment, so I am writing you back here. I think your grand niece will really enjoy this one. It is a unique format and the plot really sticks with you. :) ~L

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  6. I haven't read this yet, but I will. I love SE Asia stories and I'd love to see how the author writes this story.

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    1. Lee- Oh- I think you will love this one. The style really draws the reader into the story. :) ~L

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  7. This sound like a terrific book. I hadn't heard of it but will be looking for it.

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    1. Rosi- Glad to introduce you to this one! It is great! :) ~L

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  8. It sounds brilliant - and is close to my heart. I have been worrying about our treatment of asylum seekers, and the way in which we 'dehumanise' them. I think it sets a precedent I would hate to see adopted by our young people...
    I will track it down. Thank you.

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    1. Elephant's Child- You make an excellent point. This book is definitely one that will make people think about the story behind those seeking asylum. I hope you find a copy and enjoy it. :) ~L

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  9. Something about the cover made me think of Dr. Seuss, so the actual subject of the book was a surprise. But it's written in verse, so not completely foreign to Dr. Seuss. Sounds great! :)

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    1. Lexa- I can see the Dr. Seuss connection and the fact that his boos are poetry and so is this one is definitely a connection. :) ~L

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  10. What a great way to write a book and have the kids learn about her experiences because there was so many horrible things that happened at that time. If I could take one thing? I would take pictures. I state it like that because they are small enough to travel with and they can't be replaced

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    1. Birgit- I thought it was a great way to learn about her experience too. I think pictures are a great choice because they help us to remember people and places and they can't be replaced. :) ~L

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  11. Sounds like an amazing story. Congrats to the author!

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    1. Editors At Work- Definitely! :) ~L

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  12. sounds like an amazing story!!
    xo

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  13. This sounds amazing and it looks like kids will learn without even realizing it.

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  14. Only taking one item... that would be difficult but it would also show you want was important... I would really have to think this one over xox

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    1. Launna- Only taking one item would be incredibly tough. Not an easy decision! :) ~L

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  15. Oh wow, this sounds like a pretty deep book. I haven't read too much about the Vietnam war before, and knowing this is based on a true story makes it all the more personal and moving. I commend the author for being able to write it.

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    1. Olivia- It is a deep book and the reader really gets to know the main character and her thoughts. It was a time period I hadn't read a lot about either, so I especially liked learning more about it in this format. :) ~L

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  16. Yes, yes, yes, I have read this! One of my favourite novels-in verse though I don't know why I haven't blogged about it. What I remember clearly is also one of Ha's brothers, the one who loves Bruce Lee. Will be looking forward to the author interview (and Karen Hesse's! Oh my God!).

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    1. Claudine- I am so glad to hear that you have read this book and loved it. it is so well written. Ha's brother definitely stands out! Also- we are so excited to be interviewing Thanhha Lai and Karen Hesse! :) Yeah! :) ~L

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  17. I read this a few years ago and loved it.

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    1. Medeia- I am so glad to hear that! :) ~L

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  18. It really does sound like a great book!!

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    1. Optimistic Existentialist- It is! :) ~L

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  19. Sounds like a wonderful book, both for the style and the content!

    The only book in free verse I've read is Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust, which was wonderful. I recently picked up a book called Song of the Sparrow, an Arthurian YA novel in verse, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

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    1. Lark- It is wonderful for both reasons.

      We will be reviewing Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust the week of our interview with her. Books in verse are so unique and interesting way to tell a story. I haven't read Song of the Sparrow, but I hope you enjoy it. :) ~L

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  20. I read this last year for a class I was taking and I really loved it. I want to read more verse novels.

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    1. Shooting Stars Mag- I want to read more books in verse too! Such a different approach to a story. Glad you read an loved this one! :) ~L

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  21. Aquele shampoo e condicionador são muito bons! ;D

    Não conhecia o livro! Interessante a história ser contada em versos.

    Ótima quinta!

    Beijo! ^^

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    1. Amanda- The shampoo and conditioner you talked about in your post sound awesome.

      This was a great book and the fact that it was told in verse made it very memorable. :) ~L

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  22. Sounds fascinating. In college I had a friend who managed to escape to the sea with 2 younger siblings while the rest of his family was gunned down on shore. Horrific tales - worse because they're true.

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    1. Jemi- It is a fabulous book. I bet your students will enjoy it. What a sad story about your friend and their family. Awful! :(
      ~L

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  23. That sounds heartbreaking. I can't even imagine having to take only one item and moving to a new country and trying to learn a new language.

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    1. Mary- I know! It was great getting to know the main character and her emotions really came through. I can't imagine having to go through the move and all the changes. :) ~L

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