Susan Corapi, Associate Professor, Trinity International University, Deerfield, ILQuite candidly, Thanhhà Lai is one of my heroes because of what her books do for my students. Each semester, as I read Inside Out & Back Again (2011) with my pre-service teachers, they gain immeasurable insights from Hà’s story that will help them teach English Language Learners in a way that supports them academically, socially and emotionally. Hà’s story teaches what compassion looks like. The relationships, cultural clashes, and questions she has with teachers, neighbors, schoolmates, church attendees and family members help readers gain a window into how a newly arrived refugee might feel and think. I have yet to meet a college student who was not moved to be a better teacher for children or teens who are adjusting to a new culture and language. That is a powerful book! The U.S. is experiencing increased chaos due to the pandemic, resulting unemployment and racial violence, so there is an important place in schools for narratives that teach students compassion, the ability to get along, and especially the need to understand behavior as motivated by values and beliefs. Hà’s story does that for readers willing to engage with her emotional and academic journey. Continue reading
By Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán, Teachers College, Columbia University
“If someone is different from you, go stand next to her and observe. That person just brought another world to your door without you having to travel.”
This Sunday, November 18, a group of teachers, librarians, and teacher educators had the pleasure to hear award-winning author Thanhha Lai talking about her novel Inside Out and Back Again.