We never find ourselves in the heat of battle in Inside Out and Back Again, and it's a good thing, too, since our main character is a ten-year-old girl. So unlike other war stories you might have read, this one explores the impact war has on the life of a child. Hà writes about the immediate effects of war on her life, taking us through the period of escape and the experience of becoming a refugee in the American south. Though not a soldier herself, with her father and her homeland lost to war, Hà's life is radically changed by the violence in Vietnam.
Questions About Warfare
What are some of the things that stand out to Hà about living during a war? Does she seem scared? Why or why not?
What kinds of things seem to be affected the most during war? The least?
What do we learn from Hà about being a refugee of war?
Whose side of the story don't we get in this book?
Chew on This
Knowing more about the Vietnam War before reading Inside Out and Back Again would increase comprehension of the book in a meaningful way.
The specifics of the Vietnam War aren't relevant to this book, because at its core its concerned with the universal ways in which war upends people's lives.