Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 5U4.814925

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.

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 family.

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.

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published on February 22, 2011 by HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0061962783
ISBN-13: 9780061962783
151 Book Reviews
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  • MaybeThursday, June 6, 2019 at 6:05 pm
    It’s an amazing book
    • guvotymy-155904855608
      guvotymy-155904855608Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 6:58 am44 stars
      It is a good book but it is kind of boring at some point but overall the storyline of the book is pretty good
      • zzayumi
        zzayumiMonday, May 27, 2019 at 7:16 am55 stars
        This book is really good! 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."[4] 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. The main resolution of the book is family importance.
        • tiffytafy
          tiffytafyTuesday, February 12, 2019 at 4:59 am55 stars
          It was good
          • mia_13
            mia_13Monday, February 11, 2019 at 3:07 pm44 starsFeatured
            I liked how Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai grasped the emotions of many readers. With the mystery of Ha's father, it's difficult to stop yourself from reading. An emotional aspect was when Ha took readers through her journey of the Vietnam war reaching her hometown. What will her family do in this situation? Keep reading to find out! Ha also goes through many phases of people bullying her and she doesn't quite know what to do. You'll have so much respect for people from different cultures trying to adjust. I wish the book would give more backstory on Ha's father. It's all talk and no action of what he actually did. I would definitely recommend reading the book!
            • cluckey
              cluckeyMonday, February 11, 2019 at 8:20 am
              The book Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai was a amazing book, telling us Ha's emotions on her life adventure while hoping her father will come home. He has been gone for 9 years because of the Vietnam war. I feel like I was in the book and think that others would to because of the troubles she went through on the boat to get a new life and her challenges getting to Alabama. The best part was the end of the story when they found that the truth about her dad.
              • lovejojo05
                lovejojo05Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 8:18 am55 stars
                Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai has it all: interest, sadness, shock - all in one. I love the intriguing journey that Ha goes through in her life from her little home in Saigon to traveling on a boat to another country. Also, I love the mood changes when Ha goes from finding a lovely home in a new country with some new people to having a heartbreaking moment with someone in her life. One thing I wish was there's a sequel. I really want to know what happens in Ha's life next! I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.
                • aurthor
                  aurthorWednesday, February 6, 2019 at 1:56 pm55 stars
                  I really loved reading Inside Out & Back Again ,It was written very well and it wasn't cliche. In this story Ha and her family have to move to America because the Vietnam war.Then they all had to adapt to their new life's in America. A main problem was that her dad was gone and it built a lot of anticipation through the book while other things were going on.This book has a lot of soul and heart put into it and I think that other readers would really appreciate it too. I really wish that there was a sequel and i'm absolutely going to be reading more books by Thanhha Lai in the future.
                  • PuppyLoverFriday, January 25, 2019 at 3:16 pm
                    This is an amazing book! It is very emotional and sad at some parts and it will really make you feel like you are actually in the main character’s shoes. I love how the book is written in poetic form. I am not a big fan of poetry, but Thanhha Lai writes so beautifully that it is most definitely worth it. Also, it is cool how the author bases the main character, Hà, off of her own experiences and life. Read the author’s note! I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a heart-warming story. Inside Out & Back Again is definitely one of my all time favorite books. READ IT!
                    • lol121Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 10:35 am
                      I love this book I am reading it in my book group!