Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival – by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, with Tuan Ho, Art by Brien Dienes, Pajama Press, (9781772780055), 2016.
Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? In Vietnam, in the early 1980’s, Tuan Ho’s parents made the difficult decision to illegally leave the country. Tuan’s dad and oldest sister went first and planned to sponsor the rest of the family in a new country. However, the situation in Vietnam grew worse, and Tuan’s mom, Tuan, and two other sisters fled, too. Soldiers tried to prevent their escape by shooting at them. Worse dangers awaited them aboard the boat. When it started to leak and the engine failed, they faced death by hunger and dehydration. They were lucky. Their boat was rescued by an American aircraft carrier and the family eventually was reunited in Canada. Three end pages provide historical context for Tuan’s story. Though the images in the story have the slightly blurred, dreamlike quality of a softened memory, photos at the beginning and end indicate to readers the reality of the family’s dangerous escape. Their story is timely as floods of refugees in horrendous situations risk everything to flee current conflicts.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to teachers to supplement studies about the Vietnam War or current events with an example of how non-combatants can be affected by the outcome of wars.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve with books about Vietnam in 959.704.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Top half of the pile.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 12/17/16
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