Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘babylift’

Last Airlift Takes Manhattan

Posted on February 11th, 2013 by pajamapress

Bookworm Buddies, the blog of the Manhattan Public Library, recently posted this review of Last Airlift:

“When this book came in, I started flipping through it at my desk because the topic reminded me of a Laotian refugee who was in my class when I was in 2nd grade.  I had to give up my lunch hour to keep reading because I couldn’t put the book down once I started.  Tuyet’s story is so amazing. It beings in a crowded Saigon orphanage in April 1975, where Tuyet was one of the older children who had lived at the orphanage her entire life. She helped care for the little ones and put up with bullies and got along as well as she could despite her leg that was damaged by polio.  On April 11, something scary and amazing happened. The babies from the orphanage were placed in cardboard boxes and put in a car, and Tuyet was called to go along with them. She did not know where she was going or why.  American soldiers then packed all the babies into a huge airplane. Tuyet did not think she would be going in, too, but then a woman carried her to the plane that she said would take her away from the war to safety.  Significantly, this Hercules plane was the last Canadian “babylift” to leave Saigon with refugees.  And this is just the beginning of Tuyet’s adventure, full of frightening new things and sounds, language she did not understand, and little to comfort her.  Luckily, Tuyet was adopted into a loving family and given a new chance in life…”—Jennifer

Click here to read the full review.

Canadian Children’s Book News calls Last Airlift”Thought-provoking, heartrending and inspirational”

Posted on May 30th, 2012 by pajamapress

“Thought-provoking, heartrending and inspirational, author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s first non-fiction book chronicles one woman’s account of a little-known piece of Canadian history: the Ontario government-sponsored Operation “Babylift.”

In April 1975, South Vietnamese orphans were airlifted from Saigon and flown to Ontario where they were adopted by Canadian families. This military maneuver saved interracial babies (with American blood) and disabled children from being killed… Written from the perspective of eight-year-old Tuyet, who is crippled from polio, the book gives the reader vivid insight into life in a Saigon orphanage where children never see the sky and subsist amidst a soundtrack of warfare. Tuyet’s story reveals not only the privations and misplacement caused by war but the assumptions made by well-meaning people about the desirability of Western customs and middle-class values. Plentiful food, her own room and her first family initially cause Tuyet mistrust, discomfort and even terror.

This simply written but masterfully perceptive story of human resilience and courage belongs on every school and public library shelf. Although it could be read aloud to Grade 3 students and independently by Grades 4 to 8 students (e.g., for social studies or language units), the narrative easily captures an adult. Forchuk Skrypuch, who has received numerous awards for her historical novels, enriches this slender book with photos and official documents. Historical and author’s notes, detailing relevant background to Tuyet’s plight and the author’s research methods, make engaging additions alongside a list of further resources and an index.”

–Aliki Tryphonopoulos

Last Airlift reviewed inBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Posted on May 25th, 2012 by pajamapress

“…Skrypuch, who originally intended Tuyet’s experience to take the form of a novel, opted instead for a nonfiction presentation as interviews helped Tuyet reclaim many of her early memories and participate in retelling her own story. This biographical approach helps to humanize a war that, for most readers, may seem like ancient history, and the tight focus on the airlift and Tuyet’s first days with the Morrises reminds readers that they are sharing the experiences of an agemate.” –Elizabeth Bush

Click here to read the full review.