Inside Out and Back Again
By Thanhhà LaiReading Level: Middle School
Awards: Newbery Medal
Publisher: HarperCollins 2011
Inside Out and Back Again is a story about a young girl named Kim Hà and her family, consisting of her Mother and three brothers, being forced to move to the United States because the Vietnam War had reached their home, and it was no longer safe. They board a navy ship and flee. Upon spending a couple months at a refugee camp, they end up moving to Alabama. There Hà struggles with learning English and confronting bullies, including one that she nicknamed Pink Boy, at her new school. Hà at one point said, "No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama." Eventually, she has pushed through those hard times with the help of their next door neighbor, Mrs. Washington and the support of her family. In the beginning of the book, it mentions that Hà's father, a soldier in the Vietnam war, was captured by the North Vietnamese Army when she was only a year old. In the end, Hà's family figures out that unfortunately, her father had died while in North Vietnamese hands. Hà then gets used to living in the U.S and her family celebrates the new year. She prays for good things to happen to her and her family.