A Sweet Papaya Ending


Where have you been on Tuesdays at noon?

We have been in the library for Read Aloud Tuesdays!

Since early November, the intermediate students and I have been reading Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai. We come in, take our shoes off, find a comfy place to sit and relax for 30 minutes of reading time.


This book is told in verse and relates the story of Ha, a 10 year old Vietnamese girl who is forced to flee her beloved Vietnam when Saigon falls at the end of the Vietnam War.

With her father off at war and not heard from, the family decides the best thing they can do to survive is leave for America.

They end up in Alabama, where Ha and her family slowly adjust to life in a very different country, where she is treated with open hostility from the other children at school and neighbors near them.

Her poems are achingly true to life and capture the anguish of leaving home, learning a new language and the anger she feels during this transition time.

 As each week passed, we often stopped and spontaneously discussed historical references and questions we had.  Questions were free flowing and the answers weren’t always easy to explain or understand, as any question about war can be. Still Thannha helped us appreciate the beauty of her Vietnamese homeland…and of papaya!

Ha’s love of papaya was woven through the novel like a golden thread. Since most of us had never tasted or even seen a papaya, we had some for our last reading.

I have never bought or cut up papaya before, so it was a completely new experience for me! The inside has lots of round brown seeds. It almost looks like caviar! Then the fruit is a reddish-orange color and sweet. Our papaya wasn’t completely ripe, so it probably didn’t taste as wonderful as it should. Still, we had fun trying it out to see why Ha liked it so much!

It was a sweet and fitting ending to a very special book! Now we have a new decision to make.  What should our next Read Aloud Tuesday book be? If you have an opinion, leave a comment and let me know!


What do you think about Read Aloud Tuesdays?
Do you like tropical fruit like papaya or mango or kiwi?
What book should we read next?
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7 thoughts on “A Sweet Papaya Ending

    • Dear Irislyn and Georgia,
      I am so pleased you loved the book as much as I did. We had a lot of fun didn’t we? It made me want to visit Vietnam and see how beautiful it must be there.
      Thanks for the book suggestion. I’ll put it on my list.
      Mrs. Hembree

  1. Dear Mrs Hembree and your wonderful Bulldog readers,

    I love the fact that you all got cozy and read this wonderful book. Boy it does sound like a wonderful read too! need to put this book on my list of must reads.

    I just love tropical fruits but my all time favourite is the mango. They are so yummy to eat and messy too. Thats the fun part about eating a mango is trying not to get it all over you which nine times out of ten I seem to do.

    What is the weather like Mrs Hembree?
    Today is really a beautiful sunny day here in Geelong.

    Take care from your pal down under,
    AA. 🙂

  2. The book was so intresting! It is a gould book for people who have moved to a different country. I would recamend a book called Magyk by Septumus Heap.
    Your Tuesday Read Aloud Budy,

    • Dear Georgia,
      I’m so glad you loved Inside Out & Back Again! I did too! Thannha Lai captured the thoughts and emotions of what it’s like to live somewhere you don’t speak the language. I remember what it was like for me as an exchange student in Germany, and I often felt like Ha.
      I haven’t decided what book to do next. It can’t be super long or we will never finish it in our weekly read alouds. I have a bunch of titles rolling around my brain! I’ll see which one calls me to read!
      Your librarian,
      Mrs. Hembree

    • Dear Ben,
      I think the best part of the Edublog Awards is learning about all of the wonderful other blogs out there in the blogging world. So many of them have taught me and now you about blogging. We wouldn’t be learning what we are learning without their guidance!
      What have you learned from other people?
      Mrs. Hembree

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