Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

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 strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own...

Details Inside Out & Back Again

TitleInside Out & Back Again
Release DateFeb 22nd, 2011
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Poetry, Childrens, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Fiction

Reviews Inside Out & Back Again

  • Emily May
    No one would believe mebut at timesI would choosewartime in Saigonoverpeacetime in Alabama. I'd been saving this for when my kids got a little older so we could read it together, but when Helen Hoang mentioned it in the author's note for The Bride Test, I knew I couldn't wait that long. No matter, I'll read it again with them in a few years. It's a beautiful little book.Inside Out & Back Again is a free verse poem that tells the tale of a Vietnam...
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    Inside Out & Back Again, Thanhha LaiInside Out & Back Again is a verse novel by Thanhha Lai. The book was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and one of the two Newbery Honors. The novel was based on her first year in the United States, as a ten-year-old girl who spoke no English in 1975. Inside Out and Back Again is a story about a young girl named Kim Hà and her family being forced to move to the United States be...
  • Sandra
    {This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.}I now understandwhen 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 laughingwhen they wonder if I lived in the jungle with tigers,growling and stalking on all fours.I understandbecause Brother Khoinodded into my headon the bike ride homewhen I asked if kidssaid the same thingsat his school.Thanhha Lai writes ...
  • Nat
    “I’m practicingto 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 s...
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Find all of my reviews at: 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...
  • babyhippoface
    Read this straight through in one evening. It repeatedly put me in mind of an outstanding teacher at my school, whose family immigrated to the United States when she was about Ha's age. When we had a "Guess That Baby Picture" contest at school, she brought a school photo of herself around the age of 8, because that was all she had. There were no baby photos of her, no visual memories of her early years; they were too poor for photographs. All thr...
  • Moe
    Let me tell you something. If I wasn't forced to write so many essay's about this stupid book, then I might have enjoyed it more. Maybe if we didn't have to analyze every sentence discussing every little detail until I accidentally tear one of the papers out because we had to flip back so many times, I probably might have enjoyed it more. This could have been a great book, and it's a shame that the new common core thinks we are "Learning" from wr...
  • Betsy
    Thinking about the most memorable of children's novels, one trait in all of them has to ring true in order for them to click with their readers. The books must contain some kind of "meaning". Even the frothiest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-type offering isn't going to remain long in the public's brain if there isn't at least a little "meaning" slipped in there. Now when I use the term "meaning" I'm being purposefully vague because it's not t...
  • maha
    I always love a good verse novel, and this book was just that. A story about immigration and attempts to adapt to a new culture, Inside Out & Back Again was truly beautiful and heartwarming. It touched me emotionally on the struggles Hà had to deal with.Hà is different from everyone around her. She is a Vietnamese girl among Americans. She is the weird black-haired girl in her school. She is the girl everyone makes fun of. Despite all this, Hà...
  • Kristy K
    This book has been on my radar (and my shelves) for a while and I’m glad I finally read it. Told in verse from the POV of 10 year old Hà, we get a glimpse into life in Vietnam during the war, the journey of a refugee, and the struggles to adapt and be accepted in a new country. Truly a wonderful, heartfelt (and sometimes heartbreaking) book.
  • Wendy
    Hey, reviewers? A lot of you are using the word "prose" where you mean "poetry", and I can't take it.Also, there are actually lots and lots of kids' and YA books written in verse. Thanks.Anyway, actual review: I find it difficult to review this, just like I found it difficult to review the last novel-in-verse about a Vietnamese refugee in the 1970s that I read, All the Broken Pieces. Like anything negative I might say is me judging the immigrant ...
  • Book Concierge
    Audiobook performed by Doan LyHa is the 10-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese Navy Officer who has gone missing while on a mission. As the Americans pull out of the war and Saigon is about to fall, Ha and her family escape the country via ship. Eventually they gain a sponsor, and the family tries to start over in the USA, a strange land, where the language, food, customs and religion are all different than what they are used to. This middle-grade ...
  • Romie
    It's a book I didn't know exist until a few days ago, and I'm truly glad it came into my life.This book deeply touched me because my dad's own family immigrated from Vietnam to France and the Vietnamese culture is one I grew up hearing about but never truly experienced it.This story follows Hà, her mother and three brothers, through their journey from a Vietnam at war to an American that doesn't necessarily welcome them with opened arms. It's a ...
  • Liz Janet
    Putting side that I was not the biggest fan of the writing, because I do not think that simply separating sentences with a lot of space is poetry, the story and her experiences made up for it. “Whoever invented Englishshould have learnedto spell.” It is not often that I see a book about immigration to which I can relate. I come from an European background and nationally, I am Caribbean, so I have the whole, not a native English speaker, but s...
  • Jill Williamson
    What a wonderful book! I so appreciated seeing through Há's eyes as she and her family moved from Saigon to Alabama and all that they went through, trying to grieve what was left behind and adapt to what was new. This is a wonderful book to help kids understand what immigration can be like (and to some degree, how it feels to be a new student from a far away place). It did a wonderful job of both educating and building empathy. It would also be ...
  • Tamanna
    If you love lyrical books you will love this book. I couldn't stop reading it.
  • Erica
    I don't recommend listening to this one. The narration is stiff and the Vietnamese words are spoken in italics (see Older's thoughts on italicizing a native language)I didn't read this one with my eyes because I have an aversion to novels in verse. While they can be more nuanced than the typical novel and though you have to work harder to get to the depths due to a scarcity of words, they seem choppy to me, jarring, and a little flighty. I'm not ...
  • Jessaka
    "No one would believe mebut at times/I would choosewartime in Saigonoverpeacetime in Alabama."This prize winning book is powerful and sad. A young girl named Kim Ha has to leave Vietnam during the war and ends up in the southern State of Alabama.To begin with, Kim Ha's father has been MIA for 10 years, and after they leave for America they wonder how he can find them if he comes home. So already Kim Ha has sadness in her heart. There is so much m...
  • Tania
    A short, but significant, story. This book is one of the reasons reading is so important. How else would we understand what it feels like to be a refugee? I firmly believe if more people read this or similar books, there would be fewer acts of xenophobia. I've never read a book written in free verse, but I absolutely loved it. I thought the fact that the author could get you to feel so much for the characters with so few words was amazing. Highly...
  • Katherine
    ”No one would believe mebut at times I would chose wartime in Saigonoverpeacetime in Alabama." Ten-year-old Hà lives in South Vietnam at a time of political turmoil in her country. Her father has been presumed missing in action for many years and her family is living on the brink of poverty in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. When the political unrest becomes too much for them, they flee by boat to America. There Hà, her three brothers and m...
  • Zoe's Human
    No matter how old you are, whether or not you like poetry or not, you should still read this. I'm 45, I'm not into poetry, and I loved this. In spare but elegant verse, the story of one year in the life of a girl is told. A year where Saigon falls and her family becomes refugees fleeing to safety in the United States. A year of coming to terms with a new culture and language. A year of struggle as a forced immigrant. This is amazing both as a pie...
  • Tasha
    I'm sold! If you asked me as early as last week "do you read poetry?" I'd answer with a resounding "no, absolutely not!". Fast forward to today and I would say "is it free verse? Then absolutely yes!". I've never heard of free verse poetry but I like it! Inside Out & Back Again is a year's journey told through verse of a young immigrant girl fleeing from Saigon. I felt like I got to know her through the sparse and beautiful poetry/verse. This boo...
  • Hasna M. 8B
    This historical fiction was special because the main character, Ha, experiences the same things as the author did when she was 10. It did get a little confusing because not everything that happened was recorded so it looked like she skipped parts. I still loved it!
  • Kate S.
    I love this book!!! It is about a young Vietnamese girl and her family. It is a great story told in her perspective. It shows the struggles of being brought into a new land (America). She has to face lots of problems whether that be losing her papaya tree or facing the schools bully. I would totally recommend this book!!!!
  • Barbara
    This moving novel in verse chronicles a year in the life of a young girl who must leave behind all that is familiar for a world where everything is strange and new. It is 1975, and as the war draws closer to her Saigon, Vietnam home, Ha reflects on the whereabouts of her missing father and the family's difficult straits. When they have the chance to flee, the family boards a boat, eventually ending up in Alabama. The book illustrates perfectly ma...
  • Martha☀
    In this short, easy-to-read collection of poems, 10 year old Ha recounts one year of upheaval in her life as she is forced to leave Saigon upon the invasion of North Vietnam. She and her family escape on an over-crowded navy ship one day before the fall of Saigon and they take shelter at the US naval base on Guam. Eventually, her family of five arrive in the US as refugees and are taken in by a generous sponsor in Alabama where they finally settl...
  • isabelle
    Review to come. (And the list grows larger)
  • David
    Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai I was in the US Navy in 1975, headed toward the Philippines when our squadron personnel were off-loaded in Hawaii so that our carrier could rush to the coast of Vietnam to pick up refugees fleeing South Vietnam before it fell to Communist forces. So this story has particular personal meaning.Like most Americans, I owe the life I live to the courage and hope of immigrant ancestors. The powerfulness of this ...
  • Ritika Gupta
    A young girl's heart touching story set in Saigon during Vietnam war and the family's subsequent immigration to America. Story written in free-verse style.