By: Michele Maria Surat
This story is about a Vietnamese child, Nguyen Hoa, who was trying to adjust to life in the USA. Nguyen was also called “Ut”. When Ut first started school she was ridiculed by the other kids because she was different than them. She wore traditional clothing, which the students thought looked like pajamas and she did not speak much English. Ut carried a box around with her which had a picture of her mother. Ut missed her mother very much but her family did not have money to bring her to the U.S when they came so she was still in Vietnam. Ut made a friend at school and he helped her raise money by holding a school Vietnamese fair. Her mother was able to migrate to the U.S.
I would definitely recommend this book because I feel many people could relate to it. So many families migrate to the U.S in hopes of a better life for themselves and their children and adjusting to this new lifestyle can be so difficult. Their children can experience a rough time getting through school because of factors like a language barrier. This book does a great job of showing that it is not okay to judge someone by their appearance. People should accept or embrace one another’s culture and learn from one another. It’s a great read aloud and a great book to use in a social studies unit about the Vietnam War. You can integrate Social Studies, Geography, and Writing. Furthermore, this book touches on all five domains of social justice: self love and acceptance, respect for others, taking action, social issues, etc.