The Nutmeg nominees continue. . .

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai is the story of Ha.  She is 10 years old when her family has to leave Saigon.  They are headed toward America and perhaps a better life.  But, they have left behind all that they know to go to a strange land, strange people, strange food, strange language.  Ha and her brothers have a long year of change, dreaming, grieving, and discovering.  I tell my children this many times, and the many of the books we read have the same message.  You never know what is going on in someone else’s head.  This is true of Ha’s story.  As children, we would witness a new girl at school who looks different and speaks differently.  What do you think she is thinking?  She is not stupid, she just wants to fit in.  Thanhha Lai writes this novel in verse – which was off putting when we first picked it up.  But, it was a wonderful read, and the verse was written so beautifully, it was not difficult to understand all the meanings and/or feelings of the characters.  Both my daughter and I enjoyed this book.

What I think I liked best about this book was the supplemental information at the end of the book – an interview with the author, an activity for readers and their families, discussion questions, and best of all tips from the author about writing poetry.  While I was an English major in college, I never really took to poetry.  This was very helpful to me.  Perhaps I will start writing love poems to my husband! (Ha! – sarcasm)

Happy Reading!