This is the first picture book of its kind that recounts the true story of one family's brave and perilous journey toward a new life in North America.
Published: November 2016
Published by: PajamaPress
Hardcover: 40 pages
Content Rating: G
It is 1981. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a fishing boat overloaded with 60 Vietnamese refugees drifts. The motor has failed; the hull is leaking; the drinking water is nearly gone. This is the dramatic true story recounted by Tuan Ho, who was six years old when he, his mother, and two sisters dodged the bullets of Vietnam s military police for the perilous chance of boarding that boat. Told to multi-award-winning author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and illustrated by the celebrated Brian Deines, Tuan s story has become Adrift At Sea, the first picture book to describe the flight of Vietnam s Boat People refugees. Illustrated with sweeping oil paintings and complete with an expansive historical and biographical section with photographs, this non-fiction picture book is all the more important as the world responds to a new generation of refugees risking all on the open water for the chance at safety and a new life.
I love immigrant stories probably because I grew up in an immigrant family. Adrift At Sea is about Tuan Ho's escape from Vietnam when he was a boy of six. The story is told through the eyes of Tuan and we feel for him as he experiences fear, a family torn apart and days adrift at sea with little drinking water. The story has a positive ending, of course, but it brings to life what thousands of Vietnamese people went through in the early 1980s when they tried to escape.
My 12 year-old son read this story too and felt saddened by Tuan harrowing escape. He picked up on the fact that another boat caught fire and those in it did not escape. This opened up a great discussion on world events and how in some countries people are still trying to escape by boat. I think that it's important to teach our young ones about what children in other countries go through. These are the stories of our country's immigrants.
The illustrations are simply beautiful and the style perfect for this dramatic story. The last illustration in particular when the American soldier gives Tuan a glass of milk is a perfect way to end this nonfiction book. I also enjoyed the photographs of Tuan and his family when they were young in Vietnam to those of him today as a man with his wife and children. More factual information is accompanied with these photos.
I highly recommend this book as a teaching tool and feel that it should be in every library. It's books like this that will make history come alive for our next generation of children.
I was deeply touched by this beautiful true story of a family's survival in the face of overwhelming odds as they leave Vietnam in search of a new life in the West. Sixty Vietnamese refugees, among whom is six-year-old Tuan Ho and his family, endure days at sea as the motor of the fishing boat fails, the hull is leaking, drinking water is depleted, and the merciless sun beats down upon them, They are finally rescued by an American aircraft carrier and eventually reach Canada.
I loved the "before" and "after" pictures as well as the brief historical overview of events relating to the war in Vietnam. It seems so long ago that our hearts were being gripped by the ordeals of the so-called Vietnamese "boat people." This book makes it very current in view of the new generation of refugees on the world scene.
The soft-focus artwork done by Brian Deines that illustrates each page is amazing. A shout-out to him! The author has produced a very readable book that both parents and children should read together.
I highly recommend this beautiful book.
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