Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Airlift

A few years ago I read Ann E. Berg's All the Broken Pieces, a novel in verse about a boy who was adopted by an American family after being airlifted out of Vietnam. I loved that book and was amazed at yet another aspect of history that I was unfamiliar with.
Now Last Airlift by Marsha Skrypuch is a non-fiction account of Tuyet's experience as a Vietnamese orphan. As I read the author's notes in the back, I was even more amazed at this story.  Originally, Skrypuch set about to write an historical fiction story about the last airlift from Vietnam bringing children to Canada. As she talked with Tuyet, who had repressed her childhood memories of leaving Vietnam, her story re-emerged and Last Airlift became a non-fiction book about Tuyet.
Tuyet had lived at an orphanage for several years before she was airlifted out of the country.  Since most of the children at the orphanage were babies, Tuyet was considered a helper and had to care for the younger children.  Although she was scared on the plane, another older child, Linh, joined her and the two helped care for the scared and crying babies.  When she arrives in Canada Tuyet is adopted by a kind family who already has two adopted children and one biological child.  In Last Airlift her experiences in the first days in Canada are recounted as she tries numerous new and strange things.
Tuyet's story helped make the stories of Vietnamese orphans airlifted from their country more personal.  I think a lot of my students would be amazed by this story- they love books that are "real" (their words) and would be rooting for Tuyet to find happiness.

1 comment:

Marsha Skrypuch said...

Dear Tina,
Thank you for the lovely review!
all the best
Marsha Skrypuch
author of Last Airlift