Inside Out and Back Again

By . 2 cassettes or 2 CDs. 2:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2012. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-2089-6, CD: ISBN 978-1-4640-2088-9. $25.75.
RedReviewStarGr 4–8—Spanning one Têt to the next from 1975 to 1976, Thanhha Lai's semi-autobiographical novel (HarperCollins, 2011) is divided into four chapters: "Saigon," "At Sea," "Alabama," "From Now On." Hà, her mother, and her three brothers live in Saigon and her father has been missing in action for nine years. The threat of invasion from the North forces the family to flee on a South Vietnamese naval ship. After a rough trip, they are rescued by an American ship and go to America. They spend weeks in a tent city until a car lot owner sponsors the family and they move to Alabama. Hà faces discrimination, is bullied in school, makes new friends, and finally makes peace with the fact that her father is never coming home. This National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor Book offers a heart-breaking look at the costs of the Vietnam war, what it means to be an immigrant in a new country, and the strength of family. It ends on a hopeful note with the start of a new Têt and the hope for a bright future for the family. Doan Ly perfectly portrays Hà's youth and innocence, and captures the humor and emotions of the situations, especially those involving the quirks of the English language. A great addition to library collections.—Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY

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