In what is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel, Thanhha Lai explores the complex notions of family, immigration and beginning a new life in a different country and one's responses to the notions of homeland.
Published for the first time in 2013, Thanhha Lai's novel - unique in that it is written in verse and not prose - introduces us to Ha, who at the tender age of 10 has to flee her homeland of Vietnam for America as a result of the Viernam War. Reflecting Lai's own experiences a child displaced by the conflict in Vietnam, the novel is a moving and authentic literary work.
Awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature by the National Book Foundation and a feature on the New York Times's bestseller list for a time, Lai's book has been duly recognized for its contribution to the modern canon. The fact that it was written by an author who arrived in America unable to speak a word of English is even more impressive.