By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
This week, I would like to talk about several novels in WOW Currents for 2020 that present a journey. Santiago’s Road Home by Alexandra Diaz, Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai, Beast Rider by Tony Johnston, The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman, and Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai. All are amazing stories of young people who make a journey for a variety of reasons. Continue reading →
Susan Corapi, Associate Professor, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL
Photo Credit: Steve Puppe
Quite 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 →
Thanhhà Lại gained many readers with her award-winning novel-in-verse, Inside Out and Back Again. Her newest novel, Butterfly Yellow, aims at an older audience of middle grade and teen readers, but, like her first novel, reaches inward to grab the reader’s heart. Continue reading →
Please enjoy this one-hour webinar with Thanhhà Lại, the award-winning author of Inside Out & Back Again. She talks about how she came to write this book as a novel in verse and the connections to her life. She shares the differing ways she represents language learning in her books, including her most recent novel, Butterfly Yellow, the WOW Recommends selection for October 2020.
Thanhhà Lại is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside Out & Back Again, which won both a National Book Award and a Newbery Honor. This semi-autobiographical, debut novel in verse is taught throughout the world. Her second novel, Listen, Slowly, was named to numerous best books of the year lists. Her recent novel Butterfly Yellow, a YA debut, was reviewed in the New York Times as “a radiant pearl of a book.” Before turning fiction, Thanhhà was a reporter at The Orange County Register in Southern California. She was born in Việt Nam and now lives in New York with her family. To learn more about Thanhhà and her charity, Việt Kids Inc., visit www.thanhhalai.com.