Sparse free verse intensifies colors, sounds and feelings in this beautiful story based on the author's life. Ha is 10 years old when she escapes Vietnam with her family and they end up in Alabama. She describes the sweetness of papaya and the terror of gunfire in her homeland. Struggling to learn a new language and culture, she tells of her mother's determination to build a new life and her brothers' efforts to do the same. But most vivid are Ha's emotions and feelings - funny, scared, angry, questioning - as this young girl struggles to be accepted.
Similar books: Shooting Kabul, by N.H. Senzai
Awards nominated: 2013 Rebecca Caudill Nominee
Awards won: Newberry Honor Book 2012
Date read: 5/15/2012