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Inside Out and Back Again
Transcript of Inside Out and Back Again
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
"Inside Out and Back Again" is a fantastic story presented in a way that will challenge readers through the thought-provoking themes and style of writing. This book compares to award winning novels such as "The Diary of Anne Frank" -both books introduce readers to the subject of war, racism and creating a home for oneself, all told through the eyes of a child. When facilitated correctly, this book can be a wonderful resource for teaching kids about respecting cultural differences
"Inside out and Back Again" begins in war-torn Saigon, where Ha lives with her mother and three brothers. Ha and her family escape to America, and eventually end up in Alabama. The conflict includes person vs. self - Ha struggles with her identity as an immigrant, as a girl and as an immature and selfish child. There is also person vs. person conflict when kids at school bully Ha.
Vocabulary and Language:
"I chew each grain
"No one has offered/to share/what I smell:
Sardines, dried durian/salted eggs, toasted sesame"
"In putrid, hot air/ made from fermented bodies/and oily sweat"
Very poetic language, descriptive and colorful
"A seed like a fish eye/slippery shiny black"
Language relating to culture:
bamboo, Tet celebration, "tuyet sut" in vietnamese
I really liked the lessons this book has to offer. It is very important that children learn the importance of respecting differences, and this book can facilitate many great conversations.
The style of writing could be difficult for students, and I think inexperienced readers might struggle with the book. However, with the correct guidance, this book can show readers the value of different types of writing.
Children who are interested in other cultures might like this book. In addition, I would recommend this book for any classroom, to instill respect and empathy in the students.
By: Thanhha Lai
University of Queensland Press
Prezi by: Megan
Based on True Story
Authors connection to Audience
Dealing with racism, respecting other cultures, learning about other cultures
Creating home in a foreign place
Ha's struggles with the confining traditional role of girls in Vietnam
new vs old, adapting
"I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama"
Ha sabotages the blessing on the house, will bring bad luck.
"I was as red and fat as a baby hippopotamus"
"the needle a worm/laying tiny eggs/that sink into brown cloth"
"The tree has grown/twice as tall/as I stand/on tippy toes."
"I listen to the swish, swish/of Mother's handheld fan"
"President Thieu holds a long long long ceremony"
In the distance
explode like thunder,
lighten the sky,
falls like rain.
Because the book is told through the eyes of Ha, the tone is very intimate and personal. We know her innermost thoughts, and at times there is a confessional tone to the writing, when Ha admits her deepest thoughts and secrets. Because each section represents a different point in time, the tone changes as Ha's mood changes.
The story begins when Ha is ten and is living in Saigon. Ha is the youngest of four children and is the only daughter, thus she accepts an immature role. Ha is selfish (using the grocery money to buy herself treats) and often has trouble controlling her behavior (she likes to make her fellow student cry). When Ha's family leaves the country, she learns how to be less selfish - she sacrifices her doll to make her brother feel better about his dead chick. In addition, Ha learns how cruelty affects others - she is bullied in school, and sees how she might have hurt people in her past. Finally, Ha navigates the meaning of home and how to hold on to some things (such as cultural values and practices) while letting go of others (such as her father).
The story is told in first person, diary-form, making the reader feel an intimate connection to Ha. In addition, the character Ha is based upon the author, so when the reader gets to know the character they are simultaneously connecting to the author. In addition, many readers struggling with change can relate to the author's story.
"Analyze the structure of the text"
-In class talk about the way the book is written (in prose), and how that changes how we read the story. Have the students write personal narratives in prose style.
"Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development"
-Draw out the theme of culture - have the students select sections from the text that relate to Ha's culture. How does Ha's culture change when she comes to America? What parts of culture do we see represented in the book? (This can even be tied to a larger curriculum theme of cultural identity.)
"Analyze the meanings of literary texts by drawing on knowledge of literary concepts and genres".
-Divide students into small groups, and assign a literary device ( i.e. metaphor) to each group. Have them find examples in the text and teach the class how these specific examples affect the text.