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Butterfly Yellow
Cover of Butterfly Yellow
Butterfly Yellow
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Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and Erika L. Sanchez, this gorgeously written and deeply moving own voices novel is the YA...
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and Erika L. Sanchez, this gorgeously written and deeply moving own voices novel is the YA...
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Description-

  • Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction! Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Ibi Zoboi, and Erika L. Sanchez, this gorgeously written and deeply moving own voices novel is the YA debut from the award-winning author of Inside Out & Back Again. 4 starred reviews!

    In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

    Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn't know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

    Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn't remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Thanhhà Lai is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside Out & Back Again, her debut novel in verse, which won both a National Book Award and a Newbery Honor, and the acclaimed Listen, Slowly and Butterfly Yellow, both of which were named to numerous best book of the year lists. She was born in Viêt Nam and now lives in New York with her family. To learn more about Thanhhà and her charity, Viet Kids Inc., visit www.thanhhalai.com.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-After the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War, hundreds of children were airlifted from Vietnam to the United States. Hang saw to it that her three-year-old brother Linh was one of these children, though at the airport she's shocked to discover she's too old to accompany him. Six years later, 18-year-old Hang arrives in Texas, where her uncle and his family live, carrying an address, the only connection she has to her brother. Although her uncle promises that he will take her to the address in Amarillo, she cannot wait. She catches a bus and eventually a ride with LeeRoy, who is headed to Amarillo to meet his rodeo hero. When they arrive, Linh does not remember her and wants nothing to do with her. LeeRoy and Hang get jobs at a neighboring ranch where she tries to connect with her brother and LeeRoy tries to learn how to be a cowboy. Hang and LeeRoy, as well as the other main characters, have complex personalities that often clash. Hang's English dialogue, written in Vietnamese syllables, has to be sounded out by readers and can be difficult to interpret, though it becomes clearer when LeeRoy repeats what she says. The plot has a nice blend of external and internal action although some knowledge of the Vietnam War would make for better understanding of Hang's trauma. VERDICT While this is not Lai's strongest book, the universal truths about the lingering aftermath of war make it one that will find readers.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2019
    The day after Hằng arrives in Texas from a refugee camp, she heads toward Amarillo to find her little brother. On that same day in 1981, an 18-year-old aspiring cowboy named LeeRoy is traveling to Amarillo to pursue his rodeo dreams. After some helpful meddling from a couple at a rest stop, LeeRoy finds himself driving Hằng on her search instead. They make an odd pair, a white boy from Austin and a determined Vietnamese refugee on a mission. But their chemistry works: Hằng sees through LeeRoy's cowboy airs, and LeeRoy understands Hằng's clever English pronunciations, cobbled together from Vietnamese syllables. When they find Hằng's brother and he remembers nothing about Vietnam, Hằng and LeeRoy settle in at the ranch next door. Hằng's heartbreaking memories of the day her brother was mistakenly taken by Americans at the end of the war, her harrowing journey to America, and the family she left behind are all tempered by LeeRoy's quiet patience and exasperated affection. It is their warm and comic love/hate relationship, developing over the course of the summer into something more, that is the soul of award-winning Lai's (Listen, Slowly, 2015, etc.) first young adult novel. Every sentence is infused with warmth, and Lai shows readers that countless moments of grace exist even in the darkest times. Masterfully conjures grace, beauty, and humor out of the tragic wake of the Vietnam War. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 13-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 22, 2019
    Lai (Listen, Slowly) centers her remarkable YA debut on two 18-year-old protagonists: Ha˘'ng, a determined Vietnamese refugee, and LeeRoy, an aspiring cowboy. Just after her arrival in Texas from Vietnam in 1981, Ha˘'ng sneaks out of her uncle’s house to look for her younger brother, who was evacuated by American troops years before. Armed only with an address in Amarillo, she sets off on a bus, and, at a rest stop, collides with hopeful LeeRoy when strangers convince him to drive her, and their lives become further intertwined after they both find work on a ranch near Ha˘'ng’s brother’s adopted home. In chapters that alternately focus on the protagonists’ perspectives, the layered narrative gradually unwinds Ha˘'ng’s tremendous guilt about her brother, the trauma of her journey from Vietnam, and the intensity of the pain caused by her brother’s indifference. Lai ably sketches the chemistry between Ha˘'ng and LeeRoy; he interprets her English and helps her relate to her brother, she models dedication and loyalty, and the two slowly become friends and more. Told with ample grace, Lai’s finely drawn narrative and resilient characters offer a memorable, deeply felt view of the Vietnam War’s impact. Ages 13–up.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from July 1, 2019
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* As she did in the Newbery Honor- and National Book Award-winning Inside Out and Back Again (2011), Lai tells the story of a Vietnamese refugee. Here the girl is 18-year-old Hang, who carries several secrets as she makes the perilous journey to family in Texas. One: in the waning days of the war, Hang handed over her five-year-old brother, Linh, at an airlift. Almost immediately, the 11-year-old realized her plan for both of them to be taken, with her unknowing parents to somehow follow, was stupid. Then her father dies, and her mother and grandmother spend the next six years planning to retrieve Linh. But when Hang does find Linh, now David, he has no desire for a relationship. Simultaneously, the story of LeeRoy is told: a well-to-do kid with dreams of becoming a cowboy, he becomes entangled with Hang and her family, forcing him to look outside his narrow desires. Hang's other secret is brilliantly and painfully disclosed, and throughout, the use of the Vietnamese language enhances the reality. There are a few hiccups in the plot that might pull readers out of the story, but Lai's beautiful storytelling quickly draws them back in. Her imagery awakens the senses, whether describing an earthmover as a parched giraffe made of metal, or depicting the varying sweetness of Vietnamese fruit. Most powerful is the deep throb of regret and the thinnest wisps of hopefulness that Lai conveys throughout. They touch the soul.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • New York Times Book Review "In this radiant pearl of a book, Lại shows that we human beings are singing the very same song: a song of grace and redemption, a song of courage, a song of hope."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) ★ "Every sentence is infused with warmth, and Lại shows readers that countless moments of grace exist even in the darkest times. Masterfully conjures grace, beauty, and humor out of the tragic wake of the Vietnam War."
  • Booklist (starred review) ★ "Lại's imagery awakens the senses. Most powerful is the deep throb of regret and the thinnest wisps of hopefulness that Lại conveys throughout. They touch the soul."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) ★ "Remarkable. Told with ample grace, Lại's finely drawn narrative and resilient characters offer a memorable, deeply felt view of the Vietnam War's impact."
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review) ★ "Lại writes with charm and spark, and she is especially original in her conveyance of Hằng's limited English. Hằng remains resilient and purposeful, characteristics that make her compelling and even heroic. Ultimately, this is a bittersweet yet hopeful story of letting go and finding new ways to come together."
  • The Horn Book "One strength of the novel is the subtle character development. Another is Lại's use of language. Those who hear Hằng's remarkable tale can additionally think about contemporary connections to immigrant experiences, feelings of being an outsider, and the detours one's life may take."
  • Shelf Awareness "Dedicated 'In memory of the thousands of refugees at the bottom of the sea,' Lại personalizes history with compelling characters, lively interactions and, most importantly, engrossing storytelling."
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer "Thanhha Lai's Butterfly Yellow artfully blends comedy and tragedy in a deeply moving story about refugees, siblings, and youthful dreams. For someone who wants to know more about the Vietnamese refugee experience—or how to be a cowboy—this taut novel is a great place to start."
  • Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling and National Book Award winning author of The Poet X "Lai is a master of storytelling, and this tale will have you wanting to hug close every character even while you cheer for them to fly."
  • Matt de la Peña, New York Times and Newbery Medal winning author of The Last Stop on Market Street "Butterfly Yellow is a beautiful, poetic story of unlikely friendship and grit and determination. Hằng is an unforgettable character. And Thanhhà Lại is one of the finest writers of our time."

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