(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Kim Há loves Saigon, where she's lived for all of her ten years. She adores the bustling marketplace, all of the city's familiar sights and tantalizing scents. Most of all, she loves her mama and her papaya tree. But as the violence of war tears Saigon apart, it becomes necessary for the family to flee. As Kim sails across the sea, bounces from refugee camp to refugee camp, finally landing in a strange land called Alabama, she experiences every emotion—anxiety, fear, wonder, and excitement.
Life in America is vastly different from Kim's experience in Vietnam. There, she felt smart. Here, people think she's dumb just because she can't speak English. There, she had lots of family nearby. Here, she's lonely. There, she ate familiar food, chatted in her native tongue, understood her world. Here, everything is different, everything is new. Does she have any hope of fitting in? Will America—a place so foreign—ever feel like home?
Based on the author's own experience as a child, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai offers a uniquely authentic perspective on immigration. Written in verse, it's a spare narrative, but one that's nevertheless vivid, poignant, and heartbreaking. It's a story that will resound with anyone who's ever felt out of place, while teaching all of us a valuable lesson about acceptance. Inside Out and Back Again proves that everyone has a story worth knowing—if only we'll take the time to listen. A beautiful, award-winning book, this poignant novel-in-verse should not be missed.
(Readalikes: Reminds me of The Girl in the Torch by Robert Sharenow and other stories about immigrant children)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
To the FTC, with love: Another library