Wednesday, December 9, 2015
by Thanhha Lai
Harper, 2015. 260p. Fiction
Mai is a Vietnamese American pre-teen who has been raised in California. One summer she is sent with her Grandmother to Vietnam to help her Grandmother find out more about her husband, Mai's grandfather, who was lost during the Vietnam War. Mai is not at all thrilled to be away from her friends, the beach, and a certain boy, for the summer, but the longer she stays in Vietnam, the more Mai comes to accept and even enjoy her cultural heritage.
Ms Lai has given Mai a very authentic voice, complete with eye rolls, and attitude, but also a deep kindness and love for her family. The relationship between Mai and her grandmother is very sweet, even though Mai doesn't speak much Vietnamese, and her grandmother doesn't speak English. The best thing about the book is the detail about life in Vietnam. By the time they finish the book, readers will feel like they spent a week in a small Vietnamese village. This is a great new multicultural offering for children who have an interest in far away lands. This book is available from the library in print, on CD and as e-audio and e-book downloads.