Book Review: Listen, Slowly

May 6, 2015

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
From Miss Caroline at Main Library

Week after week, I love seeing all the new books come in to the library.  It's one of my favorite parts of working here!  One of the best new books I've read lately is Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai.  This is a companion book to Inside Out & Back Again, but you don't have to have read it to enjoy or understand Listen, Slowly.

The publisher's summary:

"A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach.  Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War.  Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture.  But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own.  Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be.  Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives.  To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

"Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Linda Sue Park, Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things."

Not knowing much about the culture or history of Vietnam made me want to learn more after reading this book.  Books that have historical backgrounds have a way of doing that if they are written well, like this one is.  Pick up either or both of these books and see what you'll learn along the way!

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