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“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Summary: In the spring of 1975, just as the North Vietnamese were preparing to march into Saigon, military forces were bent on saving as many children as possible. This is the story of Tuyet Son Thi Ahn, an 8-year-old oprhan airlifted out of Saigon, and ultimately adopted by a Canadian family. This is an illustrated nonfiction chapter book for middle grade readers.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 and Up; read yourself: 9 and Up
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 4.4
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is well-told story of a time that many of us don't know about. Even though it is told in third person, the author did a great job of conveying the emotions and drawing the reader into Tuyet's story. The photographs and document clips are well placed and help break up the chapters well. This has some potential as a high interest / low readability book.
Pros: Upper-elementary aged children will find this piece of history both poignant and compelling in this thin, fast read. Children in adoptive families may find pieces of their own journey in Tuyet's story.
Cons: Although billed as a middle grade reader, older students reading at a fourth grade level may see the style of writing as "too babyish."
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a lovely story and well worth the read. It may be better suited for school libraries than personal bookshelves.
Educational Themes: The backdrop for the story is the closing days of the Vietnamese War. As a biography, the story is more about one child's life living through war in an orphanage; being cared for by strangers from another country; and growing up in a new world. There are lots of themes to explore.
Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2012 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.