Inside Out & Back Again

Lai, Thanhha

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Inside Out & Back Again
Print
Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0061962783
9780061962783
Characteristics: 262 p. ;,22 cm.
Alternate Title: Inside out and back again

Opinion

From Library Staff

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

sxl
Jan 27, 2015
  • sxl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

beautiful, clear, succinct, poignant tale of a young girl escaping Saigon and finding a life in Alabama. Reflects beauty and ugliness of American culture. Informative of "normal" life in Saigon, not just the effect of war, and of Vietnamese culture.

Jan 23, 2015
  • LibrLdyMapleValley rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Every New Year brings the war closer and closer to Ha's Saigon home. But the idea of leaving is unthinkable. Ha desperately holds onto the hope that her father, who has been missing in action for nearly nine years, will walk back in the door one day and if the family leaves then how will he find them? But as the bombs reach the outskirts of the city her mother knows it's time to run.
They can only take a very few things with them when the city falls to the Communist army, just what they can carry. Her mother takes 10 family photos and burns the rest and Ha would like to take her beloved papaya tree that she's grown from seed but, of course, that's impossible. It feels like she's losing everything she's ever loved when she goes from being deeply rooted in Vietnam to being rootless in a world that doesn't seem to want anything to do with her. In the crush of thousands of people trying to escape the bombing they end up on an overcrowded ship with their few belongings and not enough of the essentials like food. Before long they're floating around in the ocean, lost on an overcrowded ship and starving.
When they do finally land they end up in the United States. Alabama to be exact and it feels like they're still in a war zone. People, kids and adults, bully and threaten Ha daily. Life is alien and hard. Adjusting to this new existence takes time, the love of her family and the kindness of strangers. The journey is unforgettable.
Author Thanhha Lai has written this semi autobiographical novel of survival in a time of great change in free verse which works beautifully. Her ability to capture complex and intense moments through lyrical verse is impressive. Inside Out and Back Again is in the same arena as Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy in dealing with frightening historical events in a way that is wonderfully accessible for children in grades 4 on up.

Jun 18, 2014
  • iluvbooks7 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book! Poetry was a unique way to share this touching story.

Jun 17, 2014
  • litriocht rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

In one particularly memorable scene, Hà is asked to recite some basic words, like the alphabet letters and a few numbers, in front of her new, American classmates. For this simple task, she receives applause. Her anger at this reaction is almost palpable. At home, she is the best student! Yet here, she is lauded for knowledge that a much younger student would know.

Anyone who has learned a second language can relate to Hà's sense of frustration at scenes like this. Even her name is taken from her, as most Americans don't catch the falling tone as shown by the diacritical mark; instead, her name is mispronounced as the sound of laughter. Despite this indignity and many others, this young Vietnamese girl persists in learning English and successfully transitioning to her new life.

May 19, 2014
  • Red_Cobra_111 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

this book is a really good book! Like I said in the love that dog thing this book has a lot of poetry in it and that makes it nice to read because the order of the words are not striate forward. you might be thinking that poetry is boring but you are wrong! this book does not have that kind of poetry that you don't want to read. this book has the kin of poetry that tells a story, and that is a good kind of poetry to read!

Feb 06, 2014
  • kawaiiluv360 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

very good!

Jul 11, 2013

Interesting and unique read, it's great to learn about a different culture, and the format in this book is both fitting for the content and intriguing to the reader.

May 28, 2013
  • pinkuinchik0025 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved it. While it didn't seem that poetic, it's still written beautifully, and it's a hopeful story.

Mar 26, 2013

Students, ages 8-13, would be able to relate to this story very easily. This is an enjoyable and entertaining read for students that is engaging. Everyday struggles of race, bullying, and transitioning to a new place are all issues students can relate to which is why this can work in the classroom. This is a great opportunity to incorporate poetry into the curriculum.

Feb 24, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I recommend this book because it portrays a problem that some students go through, and that is fitting in. The story is develops in a series of poems and reflect the struggles of a little girl in a new country, with a new language and a new life. The author sets the message of hope and a new beginning in the story. With support from family and friends the main character Ha's feisty gains her self-confidence back.

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability

Feb 05, 2015
  • blue_baboon_1365 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

blue_baboon_1365 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jul 12, 2014
  • indigo_zebra_104 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

indigo_zebra_104 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jun 12, 2014
  • orange_dolphin_178 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

orange_dolphin_178 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 20, 2014
  • Red_Cobra_111 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Red_Cobra_111 thinks this title is suitable for 6 years and over

Feb 06, 2014
  • kawaiiluv360 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

kawaiiluv360 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Jul 02, 2013
  • pinkuinchik0025 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

pinkuinchik0025 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 13

Mar 26, 2013

BradyRhys thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13

Feb 24, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Nancy J Mata thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jan 19, 2013

CourtneyHendon thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Aug 25, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12

View All Ages

Quotes

Add a Quote

Mar 26, 2013

I could not find a quote in the book that supported the books idea very well.

Feb 24, 2013
  • Nancy J Mata rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"This year I Hope"
"No more Migration
No more letters
No more family"

Jan 19, 2013

"Oh, my daughter, at times you have to fight, but preferably not with your fists."

Aug 25, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.”

Aug 25, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“On one side of the bright, noisy room, light skin. Other side, dark skin. Both laughing, chewing, as if it never occurred to them someone medium would show up.”

Summary

Add a Summary

Mar 26, 2013

This is the story of a young girl named Ha who is forced to move with her family to America because of the Vietnam War that has reached her homeland. They start a new life in Alabama that Ha finds challenging because she does not fit in with the culture around her. Eventually, with the help of her teacher, Ha finds herself and begins to enjoy her new life in Alabama.

Jan 19, 2013

This story is about Ha` and her family being forced from her home in Vietnam to move to the United States because of a war. Ha` and her family moved to Alabama to start over. Although, Ha` and her three brothers were bullied and taunted by the children at school and their neighbors, they found hope in each other and one of their neighbors Miss Washington.

Aug 25, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.” Ha has known both in her life, actually. Born in Vietnam during the war, Ha lives with her mother and three older brothers. Her father disappeared years ago on a navy mission when Ha was just one. Today the family doesn’t even know if he’s alive, but when the chance comes to flee Saigon and make a new life in America, Ha’s mother doesn’t hesitate. Once they’re settled in Alabama, Ha has a whole new set of problems ahead of her. She’s homesick, mad that she’s no longer the smartest girl in class, and tormented after school by some of the boys. Yet the solution, it seems, is not to become someone different but to take what she is already and find a way to make her new life work.

Notices

Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at My Library

  Loading...
[]
[]