Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Inside Out & Back Again sweeps readers away with ten-year-old Ha as she flees Saigon at the time of the Vietnam War (1975). Written in verse, Thanhha Lai creatively shares the emotions and fears of leaving one’s home and country and embarking on a new life in a foreign land. I cried with Ha as she left her beloved papaya tree and gave up hope of her father’s return from the war in the north. I laughed as she struggled learning English with it’s various spelling rules.
Inside Out & Back Again is a wonderful book I highly recommend for children eight years and older. Whether you’re adjusting to a new culture or extending compassion to a stranger, Thanhha Lai shows us how it’s done.
Young Adult Historical Fiction at 260 pages.Lai, Thanhha.
Inside out & Back Again. Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Along the lines of Hunger Games, the Protectorate sacrifices a baby each year to the forest witch in order to preserve their safety. But the Protectorate is led by a which who is fed and strengthened by the sorrow of others.
Xan, the so-called forest witch, saves these abandoned children each year and takes them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest. But one year, Xan mistakenly feeds the sacrificial baby moonlight which gives the child powerful magic. Xan takes responsibility for her mistake by raising little Luna as her own granddaughter.
Luna’s unstable magic, Xan’s secrets, the Sorrow-eater’s insatiable appetite, and a young father’s determination to save his baby in an unforgettable climax.
This epic coming of age story involves magic, dragons, bog monsters, and an evil sorceress which make it a fast-paced read for any young adult. Apart from the good witch/bad witch scenario, I enjoyed The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
Newberry Award winner, just over 300 pages.
Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Piccadilly Press, 2017.