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
150 Book Reviews
  • silverstream77
    silverstream7714 days55 stars
    I read this book, thinking it would be a good book. Boy, was I wrong. This book isn't "good", it's incredible! You will love this if you enjoy historical fiction, or just want to dip your toes into the genre.
    • zld873
      zld873about 1 year55 stars
      I really enjoyed the book, I especially liked the fact the story was written in poetic form. This story is about a girl who needs to leave her home country because of war and goes to another country but not out of choice. She goes through a lot of things during the time when they were leaving Vietnam that is crazy to think about.
      • raindrop07
        raindrop07over 2 years44 stars
        Inside out and Back again by Thanhha Lai was really a very, very good book. It was filled with courage, dreams, compassion and tru family love and loyalty. This is a story about a young girl who's family is forced to move to the United States of AMerica because the Vietnam War is trashing and throwing their homeland into chaos and it is no longer safe. This book tells of how this family makes their way in the U.S, far away from the place they call home.
        • NJover 2 years
          I think it was a very good book. It was a sad story, but also very, very good book. I would give it a 5 out of 5 percent rating. I would say the interest level is 4-6grade. Also, I would say the A-Z reading level is U.
          • Maybeover 3 years
            It’s an amazing book
            • guvotymy-155904855608
              guvotymy-155904855608over 3 years44 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
                zzayumiover 3 years55 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
                  tiffytafyalmost 4 years55 stars
                  It was good
                  • mia_13
                    mia_13almost 4 years44 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
                      cluckeyalmost 4 years
                      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.