Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Inside Out & Back Again

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only 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. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its st

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    Sandra

    Apr 18, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

    {This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.}

    I now understand
    when they make fun of my name,
    yelling ha-ha-ha down the hall
    when they ask if I eat dog meat,
    barking and chewing and falling down laughing
    when they wonder if I lived in the jungle with tigers,
    growling and stalking on all fours.

    I understand
    because Brother Khoi
    nodded into my head
    on the bike ride home
    when I asked if kids
    said the same things
    at his school.

    Thanhha Lai writes her verses in her award winning middle grade novel

    I now understand
    when they make fun of my name,
    yelling ha-ha-ha down the hall
    when they ask if I eat dog meat,
    barking and chewing and falling down laughing
    when they wonder if I lived in the jungle with tigers,
    growling and stalking on all fours.

    I understand
    because Brother Khoi
    nodded into my head
    on the bike ride home
    when I asked if kids
    said the same things
    at his school.

    Thanhha Lai writes her verses in her award winning middle grade novel in verse, Inside Out and Back Again, from the heart, and memory of deeply felt experience.

    She poignantly and artistically brings emotion, both painful and joyful, straight from the page and into the senses. She recounts her family’s escape before the fall of Saigon through the eyes and the voice of Ha Ma. With other refugees they’re packed into small, often unsanitary quarters on a ship that will take them to safety, freedom and a new culture.

    Ha Ma, her brother Quang remembers, “was as red and fat as a baby hippopotamus” when he first saw her, thus inspiring her name, Vietnamese for river horse. He could not have imagined that in a few years her name would become the stick that tormented her in a foreign land (Alabama) far from her beloved Saigon.

    I taught in a public high school for many years and some of my students were children of those leaving their homelands in search of a better or freer life. Children that were just like Ha Ma. I went through the process to become certified to teach English as a Second Language. Yet with all my training and experience I realize that I could not have known the real pain these children lived with each day, in a new and strange environment.

    Reading Inside Out and Back Again brought me insights I’d never considered. Perhaps it is an all too human failing to believe we have understanding.

    Emily Dickinson wrote that she knows something is poetry when,

    …it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me. I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?

    No, Emily, there is no other way.

    Verse or poetry distills experience into its most elemental form. It drips with love, scorn, hope, desperation, faith and understanding. Feeling the confusion of a small child in beautifully constructed lines brings a childlike dimension of understanding of the heart of experience.

    The reader experiences this in Inside Out and Back Again, when the family is on a ship swaying in the ocean, headed for another country. Ha’s fatherless family drifts rocking back and forth seeing only water stretching before them endless and overwhelming. At only ten years of age, she comes to the realization that she has only her mother and brothers.

    The father lives in the family’s minds as a rainbow of hope. Still they must move forward to escape certain death. If they stay in Vietnam they would likely be caught up in the throes of a lost war facing a dark, uncertain future. After a long time at sea, a sponsor from America boards their ship to bring them to a small Alabama town to begin a new life in a strange, odd land.

    Thanhha Lai’s writing is such that while reading, I found myself imagining myself as a child seeing someone who looks so different reaching out for my family, offering home, hope, hospitality and happiness, yet, still not feeling emotionally safe.

    All the while
    shame.
    This year I hope
    I truly learn

    Needless to say, Inside Out and Back Again is most deserving of all of its aclaim. If you’re not accustom to reading novels in verse, this would be a wonderful choice with which to start, as the writing is very tight and the story is completely absorbing


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    Nat

    Jun 17, 2016

    rated it
    liked it

    Shelves:
    diverse-reads

    “I’m practicing
    to be seen.”

    This book grabbed my attention with its beautiful cover, and I’m really glad that it did. Inside Out and Back Again tells the tale of Kim Hà and her journey during wartime in Vietnam.

    Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward Alabama.

    In America, the family has to start anew, where they discover the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of their very o

    This book grabbed my attention with its beautiful cover, and I’m really glad that it did. Inside Out and Back Again tells the tale of Kim Hà and her journey during wartime in Vietnam.

    Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward Alabama.

    In America, the family has to start anew, where they discover the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of their very own family.

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

    I wasn’t expecting to read this so fast, but I simply could not put it down. I especially appreciated the love this family held for one another during such difficult times.

    However, the format of the story made me feel a bit disconnected from the tale. I felt like I was getting a glimpse into someone’s life, but not being fully immersed into it. I wanted to feel more connected to the family and know a bit more of their past.

    But overall it was a poignant and important story that will be on my mind for the next few days.

    3.5 stars

    *Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Inside Out & Back Again , just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!*

    This review and more can be found on my blog.
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    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/#ud…

    For those of you who know me, you might remember last year I discovered my youngest was failing to get his required nightly reading completed by opting to sit on the toilet and stare at the wall for 20 minutes every night rather than ever opening a flippin’ book. That little revelation led to us buddy reading Wonder. Unfortunately the boy child still appears to have been swapped with someone else’s baby and has yet to discover th

    For those of you who know me, you might remember last year I discovered my youngest was failing to get his required nightly reading completed by opting to sit on the toilet and stare at the wall for 20 minutes every night rather than ever opening a flippin’ book. That little revelation led to us buddy reading Wonder. Unfortunately the boy child still appears to have been swapped with someone else’s baby and has yet to discover the wonderful world of book loving, so we are buddying up again this year. After having much success with The Outsiders and All American Boys he took his teacher’s recommendation and we ended up with this one – and wow what an important and timely little book it was.

    Told in verse, Inside Out and Back Again is about Hà, a young girl growing up in war torn Vietnam. With the fall of Saigon, Hà’s family realizes they can no longer hold on to the hope of remaining in their country and flee to America via ship. Upon reaching a refugee camp in Florida, Hà’s mother chooses Alabama as their final destination in hopes that her children can have the life she dreamed of – college, families, careers, etc. This is the story of Hà’s first year in America.

    First things first, since this was told in verse my kiddo was able to read it in only a couple of days which made him feel AWESOME so thank you Thanhha Lai for that format. And most importantly, to the messages presented. . .


    “You deserve to grow up
    where you don’t worry about
    saving half a bite of sweet potato”

    “Everyone knows the ship
    could sink,
    unable to hold
    the piles of bodies
    that keep crawling on
    like raging ants
    from a disrupted nest.
    But no one
    is heartless enough
    to say
    stop
    because what if
    they had been
    stopped
    before their turn?”

    “Mother says,
    People share when they know
    they have escaped hunger.
    Shouldn’t we share
    because there is hunger?”

    They are something we should all be thinking of . . .


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    Now I need a little bit of help choosing our next book (I’m leaning toward Sherman Alexie, but not 100% committed). We’ve definitely found a formula that is working – topics that are relevant to today, the shorter the better so dude feels like he’s making progress and maintains interest, NO instalovin’ mumbo jumbo, NO dystopia, would prefer something that is not a potential “required read” (i.e., The Lord of the Flies, The Chocolate War, etc.). Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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