Goodbye, Vietnam

( 9 )

Overview

"When Mai's family discovers that Vietnam government soldiers will soon apprehend her father and grandmother, the family slips away in the night. They trudge through the swamps of the Mekong Delta toward the sea. The gut-wrenching trip to Hong Kong is just another step toward a new life, which the family eventually finds. Whelan's characters are distinctive, and her story is riveting, haunting, and memorable, reflecting the human virtues of determination, hope, love, and courage in the face of the most devastating of circumstances and

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Goodbye, Vietnam

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Overview

"When Mai's family discovers that Vietnam government soldiers will soon apprehend her father and grandmother, the family slips away in the night. They trudge through the swamps of the Mekong Delta toward the sea. The gut-wrenching trip to Hong Kong is just another step toward a new life, which the family eventually finds. Whelan's characters are distinctive, and her story is riveting, haunting, and memorable, reflecting the human virtues of determination, hope, love, and courage in the face of the most devastating of circumstances and injustices."—Booklist.  

Thirteen-year-old Mai and her family embark on a dangerous sea voyage from Vietnam to Hong Kong to escape the unpredictable and often brutal Vietnamese government.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Whelan's ( Bringing the Farmhouse Home ; Hannah ) latest novel examines the monumental struggle and privation that a group of people must endure to escape political and economic oppression in contemporary Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Mai is frightened and distraught to learn that her parents have planned to leave their home and secure passage to Hong Kong. But with hopes of freedom and prosperity to spur them on, Mai and her relatives cram themselves onto a barely seaworthy boat captained by a crusty, greedy man. The voyage is difficult at best: food and water are scarce; illness, lice, rats and blazing sun plague the debilitated passengers. When they finally reach Hong Kong, the challenges of a police inspection and a camp filled with thousands of other refugees await them. Although it chronicles many brutal realities, Whelan's story maintains an air of cool composure. Mai is the perfect narrator through whom to introduce a large cast of unusual, sympathetic characters; her emotional control and keen observations prove to be a source of calm in the storm that swirls around her. Readers will be introduced to elements of a new culture and made painfully aware of social conditions in other parts of the world. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In order to escape the harsh Vietnamese authorities, thirteen-year-old Mai and her family embark on a grueling voyage to Hong Kong. Whelan gives an account of the hardships many of Vietnam's boat people faced as they emigrated to the United States.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-- Since the grandmother faces arrest in present-day Vietnam for following the old religion and practicing healing, the Vinh family decides to flee their small rice-growing village in the Mekong Delta and escape by sea to Hong Kong. With his skills as a mechanic, the father has secured their passage on a small boat. In a first-person narrative, 13-year-old Mai relates their odyssey. Before boarding the boat, the Vinhs become acquainted with a female doctor and her daughter from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Whelan uses this relationship to set off Vietnamese rural life against the urban, the old traditions against the new. Perhaps because of this emphasis on imparting information, the plot is not as significant as it could be, and many of the characters are stock figures. Nonetheless, the book describes well the hardships many of America's newest refugees have endured and is one of the few accounts available on Vietnam's boat people. --Diane S. Marton, Arlington Coun ty Library, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679823766
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 422,824
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.33 (w) x 7.59 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Gloria Whelan

Gloria and her husband Joseph moved from Detroit to the woods of northern Michigan several years ago.  Many of Gloria's books take place during the summer — because she does a lot of her writing during the northern Michigan blizzards!  Gloria has been telling stories for as long as she can remember.  Before she could read or write, she used to dictate stories to her baby-sitter, who would type them out.  Being an only child, many of Gloria's stories were about having a brother or sister.  Gloria would like to have written Little Women, because Jo March was one of her role models growing up!  Gloria once had a set of five guinea pigs, all named after Detroit Tiger baseball players!  

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Trinity bicthes

    Read steal away home or number the stars

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Ok

    Its ok some parts are boring but i guess i enjoyed it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Ok

    READ HOLES IT IS SOOOO GOOD this is ok too : )

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Great

    Good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    Deeply touch my heart

    This is a wonderful book.After I read this book, I was thinking about my self. I am a Chinese girl who just been America for 2 years. I came here not because the war like Sundara's. I am quite different from her. But I had the same conflict as she had. It was about the culture. I tried to like an American boy before, but my parent didn't know that. Becuase I am sure that they will not be allowed me to do that! I was keeping secretly with him. Still, I couldn't done it, they found out finally!I think this really a good book for kids to read. Let them understand the conflicts of people who just come to America from other different coutries. And life is not an easy thing for everyone who lives in the world. We have to work on our lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2001

    Goodbye Vietnam (review)

    This was a very good book. I liked this book, because it was a story told by a thirteen-year-old girl. It was very clear, brief, and easy to understand book for a young reader. It was very sad how little girls had to experience so much wrong in the world. They also still have a long hard life in front of them if they were lucky to survive. It was good and exiting book. It really touched me how hard it was to live back then. I think I am very lucky that I have a better life then they did. That book was very sad. If you like books told by kids your age I think this is a wonderful book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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