Listen, Slowly

Listen, Slowly

by Thanhha Lai


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This remarkable and bestselling novel from Thanhha Lai, author of the National Book Award–winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.

Listen, Slowly is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year!

A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, 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.

This paperback edition includes a special letter from the author and a Vietnamese glossary and pronunciation guide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481533201
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/17/2015
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Thanhhà Lai is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside Out & Back Again, her debut novel in verse, which won both a National Book Award and a Newbery Honor, and the acclaimed Listen, Slowly, which was named to numerous best book of the year lists. She was born in Viêt Nam and now lives in New York with her family. To learn more about Thanhhà and her charity, Viet Kids Inc., visit

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Listen, Slowly 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Mai would rather be resting and enjoying herself on the beach instead of spending six weeks in Vietnam beside her grandmother. It’s not meant to be punishment as Mai is the perfect child, but her father is a doctor and he has promised to attend to children who have special needs in the area and someone needs to be an escort for grandmother. Mother is busy with her court cases so the responsibility lies with Mai. The older woman is not feeble having successfully raised her children in the US since her husband went MIA in the war and now she is returning to the place where her husband was last seen, in the attempts that there is some new information about his whereabouts. Arriving in this strange country, Mai now wishes she had listened to the language her grandma had spoken as the words and the meanings of these words get scrambled in her mind. It is “the land of togetherness” as Mai never has a moment to herself with family, friends and acquaintances gathering, talking and enjoying each other. Ba immediately settles in, the sights and the sounds of her homeland are a welcome sight. Mai is bitter for being there but soon finds friendship and I am transported to this foreign country, taking in the sights with these two ladies who see the this world through two different sets of eyes. Ba wants to talk to the guard who was with her husband Ut and I long to hear this part of the story but I don’t want to push the journey of Mai and Ba to an end. The ending, I waited to read it, to savor it and fully enjoy it. This truly was a spectacular, moving adventure!!
bookkm More than 1 year ago
Dear Thanha Lai, "Listen, Slowly" is one of the very best books I've read in the last year. I can't even tell you what I liked best. HOWEVER, I'd love to know what was in the concoctions that were used to clean Mai's pimples, to fight lice, etc. I think you should get someone to help you produce a Co Hanh's Recipes for Beauty and Health book. (Please excuse the absence of diacritical marks. Just a suggestion. Her's another suggestion. Please, keep writing. Your books are eye-opening and touching and funny. I suddenly want to go visit Viet Nam even though I hate humidity. Thank you so much for a lovely book.