Tuesday, May 23, 2017

N-F Picture Books Tell Stories We Should Know


       Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From Alyson and others, you will discover wonderful non-fiction books!

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon


        Considering all that we know of recent escapes from homelands in the middle east, this book reminds us that there was another time of escape for survival. That time was years ago when many Vietnamese were forced to leave their homes and country because they were no longer safe when Communists took over the whole country. The sole way of leaving was to escape at night, under cover of darkness and eventually by boat. This picture book, while brief, shows exactly what happened to Tuan Ho and his immediate family when they escaped. They left at different times because some of the children were young. The father and older sister escaped earlier. This boat ride for Tuan, his mother and siblings, some aunts and uncles turns harrowing when the boat starts leaking and then the motor dies. Previously, others had died, either by starvation or drowning, but Tuan's boat finally was spotted by an American carrier, and the boat's sixty people were saved.  


      Because it's a picture book for younger readers, I think the suffering of those on the boat was minimized, or perhaps it's up to the reader to imagine that suffering? The story begins by being left by the truck that transported them to the seashore and boarding a small boat that would take them to a larger one. They were shot at and luckily, Tuan was hit only by a rock that skittered onto his leg. On the voyage, a capful of water was the drink possible, the boat began to leak and Tuan's mother and his Aunt Nghia are the only ones willing to bail water. They thought they would not survive.
       Tuan's story is co-written by him and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. There is further explanation of the war and the family, and photographs in the backmatter. All the family has survived, the children have grown up and now have families of their own. Illustrations by Brian Deines are gorgeous paintings, mostly double-page spreads. They show the action and challenge, most of all the happiness of being rescued. It's an amazing story. The blurb on the inside cover states this is the first picture book that describes the plight of the Vietnam "boat people" refugees. It seems important in light of the recent tragedies of refugees fleeing their homes in Syria and other countries. 
           Here is one article that describes the plight and the top five countries from which the greatest number of refugees are forced to flee.

8 comments:

  1. I am so glad that publishers are bringing out more and more titles about refugees' experiences. And it's especially wonderful to see the subject is one of the authors!

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    1. Perhaps we could start a list, Annette? I'm glad to see more, too. This was well told!

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  2. Looks like another good book about the refugee crisis. I would love to think that in sharing these books with this generation, we're helping to make a change for the future.

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    1. Hoping so, Michele. I remember being so alarmed when the stories of the boat people's plight were told, and not about the worry that they were being let it. This story is hard to read and to wonder how many more will be turned away.

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  3. This book is Canadian, too, which makes it even more awesome. :-)

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    1. You're right! I should have mentioned that, Jane. Glad you shared!

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  4. thank you for the wonderful review!

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    1. You're welcome, Marsha. I enjoyed your book very much.

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