Posted on March 4th, 2013 by pajamapress
“Skrypuch’s Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War (rev. 9/12) told the dramatic story of eight-year-old Tuyet’s 1975 rescue from Saigon aboard a giant plane filled with babies in cardboard boxes. This sequel describes Tuyet’s adjustment to life with her adoptive Canadian family, the story’s drama this time revolving around the surgery she must have on her leg. Polio has left Tuyet with one leg that’s weak and smaller than the other: “Her ankle turned inward, making her foot useless. She had to limp on the bone of her ankle to get around.” Memories of fire, bombs, helicopters, and a hospital—things she thought she’d forgotten—come flooding back, and Tuyet is all alone in the hospital (no parents allowed) and knows no English. Readers will be just as riveted to this quieter but no-less-moving story as Tuyet bravely dreams of being able to run and play—a new concept for a girl who has spent her days caring for babies. Especially satisfying is Skrypuch’s portrayal of Tuyet’s growing trust in her adoptive family, whose love and affection never fail to amaze and thrill her. Illustrated with photos. Includes notes, further resources, and an index.”
—jennifer m. brabander
Posted on February 22nd, 2013 by pajamapress
The International Reading Association has published a series of book reviews about social justice-themed books for children of all ages. One of their selections is One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch:
“This companion book to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War (2012) provides the chapters that follow in the life of young Tuyet, a Vietnamese orphan stricken with polio and raised in a Vietnamese orphanage until her adoption by a Canadian family. As Tuyet becomes part of her new family, she also faces the surgeries that are required to repair her inward-turning foot. Unable to speak much English, the young girl is frightened by the hospital and surgical lights, the doctors, the consultations and examinations since she is still dealing with the nightmares of war-torn Vietnam and near-death experiences with guns and helicopters. As the surgeries conclude and the painful physical therapy begins, her new life starts to take shape. The cover of the book and the red shoes pictured take on a very special meaning by the end of this heart-warming book that will leave readers in tears. Teachers can read an interview with the author on the back matter for her book.”
—Karen Hildebrand, Ohio Library and Reading Consultant
Click here to see the full social justice book review list.
Posted on February 13th, 2013 by pajamapress
Tuyet was born in Vietnam and raised in an orphanage until a family in the US adopts her. Tuyet was stricken with polio which has left her leg weak and her foot twisted. She needs to have a series of operations to help her walk again and this is her story. Tuyet doesn’t speak English and is very scared about what is happening, but her parents find people to translate for her to help her along until she learns English. This is a story of bravery, love, and courage.
Click here to read the full post.
Posted on January 21st, 2013 by pajamapress
“In this continuation of Last Airlift (Pajama Press, 2012), eight-year-old Tuyet is now adjusting to life with her Canadian adoptive family, the Morrises. She is uneasy about sleeping alone after years in a crowded orphanage and is troubled by recurring nightmares of the war. In addition to the trauma she has endured, Tuyet suffers from the painful effects of having had polio. One of the book’s many touching scenes occurs when Mrs. Morris buys the child her first new footwear. She delights at the prospect of getting shiny red shoes, even though the left one could not be worn, due to her shrunken leg and twisted foot. Her mother does not give up until she finds a soft, red slipper that fits over Tuyet’s left foot, making the pair complete. Skrypuch only describes Tuyet’s first operation and subsequent therapy, and her first steps using a leg brace, an orthopedic shoe, and crutches. In her notes, she details five additional surgeries, ending with the operation that made the child’s legs the same length. To capture accurate details more than three decades after these events happened, the author interviewed Tuyet’s two adoptive sisters, her surgeon, and the hospital archivist as well as Tuyet herself. A historical note about the eradication of polio in North America and suggestions for ways to help make universal vaccination a reality are appended. The black-and-white cover photo of Tuyet’s face looking apprehensive and earnest is of a better quality than the handful of rather grainy ones in the text. An inspiring story that will appeal to a wide audience.”
—Deborah Vose, Highlands Elementary School, Braintree, MA
Posted on December 1st, 2012 by pajamapress
In this sequel to Last Airlift (2012), Vietnamese orphan Tuyet, now rooted and happy in her adoptive Toronto family, is terrified of the surgery she has to undergo to straighten her leg and ankle, which were left twisted from the polio she contracted in Saigon. As she lies in the hospital recovering from the operation, her leg in “cement,” she is haunted by nightmares of the past and by her fear of losing her present home. Is there something she has done to upset Mom and Dad? Are they sending her away? Unable to speak English, she cannot ask for help in the hospital, and her confusion about what is happening now forms the story’s drama. Occasional black-and-white photos show Tuyet at home in Toronto with her loving parents and siblings. Along with the true personal story, the facts about polio across the globe, past and present, will grip readers.— Hazel Rochman
Posted on November 9th, 2012 by pajamapress
One Step at a Time is an easy-to-read book about Tuyet, a Vietnamese girl adopted by a Canadian family. It is the sequel to Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and picks up where that book leaves off. Tuyet suffers great pain from having a weak ankle. Just weeks after her adoption, her new family decides Tuyet should have surgery to correct the problem. Tuyet goes through the surgery, learns to use crutches, and takes physiotherapy in the hope of one day being able to walk confidently on her own two feet.
At the same time, Tuyet, who speaks little English, is learning about her new family, new home, and new culture and is healing from terrifying experiences in Vietnam. Events that seem ordinary to many Canadian children are extraordinary for Tuyet, and we share her confusion and delight as situations—such as a flaming cake and a pile of pretty boxes, or the passing of a crop-dusting airplane—begin to resolve into meaning.
This is a gentle non-fiction telling of a particular period in Canadian history and of the experience of being a new immigrant with health concerns. Notes in the end matter provide some useful context for readers who may not understand the significance of polio or the conventions of narrative non-fiction. Black-and-white photos, including pictures of Tuyet and her family, add to the reading experience. Although Tuyet’s experiences are unusual and sometimes frightening, the narrative is full of love, kindness, and comfort.
One Step at a Time is a good choice for sensitive young readers interested in non-fiction about other children, other cultures, and recent history; it may be eye-opening for many readers. Although aspects of Canadian culture have changed, the disorientation that new Canadians experience may be similar to Tuyet’s. The book is likely to encourage many questions and wide-ranging discussion in a reading group, and the story is highly likeable. Readers do not need to know the author’s earlier book about Tuyet to understand this one, but many will want to read more about this brave and spirited girl.
Rating: G – Good, even great at times, generally useful!
Posted on November 5th, 2012 by pajamapress
On October 29, 2012, Marsha Skrypuch and Tuyet Yurczyszyn (Nee Son Thi Anh Tuyet) visited Blessed Kateri School to talk about Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, two non-fiction books that Marsha wrote about Tuyet’s dramatic childhood. The event was such a success that it was featured in the London District Catholic School Board’s Spotlight newsletter for November, 2012.
Click here and scroll down to the middle of the newsletter to read the story and see some great pictures.
Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress
Nearly 200 guests turned out for the second annual Pajama Press book launch, art show and sale. We had some good conversation, great food, and nine talented Pajama Press authors and illustrators in attendance. Thank you to everyone who came out—we hope to see you again next year!
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Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by pajamapress
“Marsha Skrypuch has written two short books for young readers that tell the story of eight year old Son Thi Anh Tuyet, a Vietnamese orphan who was adopted by a family from Brantford, Ontario. Living in an orphanage in Saigon, in 1975, Tuyet had been crippled by polio when younger and was suffering from psychological trauma as a result of her experiences during the Vietnam War…
These two books will serve as a gentle introduction for younger children to an event known as the Fall of Saigon and also the Vietnam War. Skrypuch’s books can also be used as the jumping point for children learning about the Vietnamese refugees who came to Canada in the mid-1970’s.” –LibrisNotes
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on October 4th, 2012 by pajamapress