Inside Out and Back Again is a #1 New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award! Inspired by the author's childhood experience as a refugee—fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama—this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.
Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America.
This moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it "enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny."
An author's note explains how and why Thanhha Lai translated her personal experiences into Hà's story. This updated digital edition also includes an interview with the author, an activity you can do with your family, tips on writing poetry, and discussion questions.
Narrating in sparse free-verse poems, 10-year-old H brings a strong, memorable voice to the immigrant experience as her family moves from war-torn South Vietnam to Alabama in 1975. First-time author Lai, who made the same journey with her family, divides her novel into four sections set in Vietnam, "At Sea," and the last two in Alabama. Lai gives insight into cultural and physical landscapes, as well as a finely honed portrait of H 's family as they await word about H 's POW father and face difficult choices (awaiting a sponsor family, "...Mother learns/ sponsors prefer those/ whose applications say Christians.'/ Just like that/ Mother amends our faith,/ saying all beliefs/ are pretty much the same"). The taut portrayal of H 's emotional life is especially poignant as she cycles from feeling smart in Vietnam to struggling in the States, and finally regains academic and social confidence. A series of poems about English grammar offer humor and a lens into the difficulties of adjusting to a new language and customs ("Whoever invented English/ should be bitten/ by a snake"). An incisive portrait of human resilience. Ages 8 12.
Customer ReviewsSee All
With the refugee crisis everywhere and the voicing of millions of opinions, I can only say that this book certainly made me think. It made me feel and it made me cry. I wish the leaders of all the countries in the world could read this book. I wish the televised blowhards in America could read this book as well
Inside Out and Back Again
This book takes you to 1975 in a war-torn Vietnam those the eyes of a young girl named Ha. The story chronicles her upheaval from her homeland to a foreign and scary America. I liked how the book was written in verse. It reminded me of a journal a young girl would write about her life, but her story carried the weight of emotional turmoil. A great, quick read.
This is my favorite book and nothing can top it. I’ve never read a book that was better than this, absolutely in love. It was a sad(made me want to cry)emotional, quick read, recommend it to EVERYONE!!!!!!