Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again
Written by Thanhha Lai

Publisher’s Summary:
Hà has only ever 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–toward America.

Primary Source Pairing:
Hà and her family escape Saigon in the midst of fear and great uncertainty. They board a ship that takes them across to ocean to Guam, and then they travel by plane to Florida, and then finally onto Alabama. Records indicate over two million Vietnamese left Vietnam during the war. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a photograph of Vietnamese people arriving in America in 1975. Encourage students to make connections between Hà’s experience and what they see in the photograph.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What, if any, words do you see?
  • What other details can you see?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • What can you learn from examining this image?
  • Make a connection between Hà’s experience and what you see in the photograph.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
South Vietnamese refugees arrive on a U.S. Navy vessel during Operation Frequent Wind Photograph: Wikipedia

Additional Resources:
Author Thanhha Lai’s website:
Inside Out & Back Again Discussion Guide: HarperCollins Children’s