Posted on January 16th, 2014 by pajamapress
Good News Toronto has shared a list of books to help kids deal with new beginnings. Among them is One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch:
“One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (published by Pajama Press)is the true story of Tuyet, an orphaned refugee from wartorn Vietnam who is adopted by a Canadian family. Life in a strange country with a new language presents many challenges, including the first of six operations to repair her left leg, which was deformed by polio. Through incredible determination and strength of character, along with the support of her family, Tuyet learns to walk without the aid of crutches. Readers 8 to 11 years old will marvel at Tuyet’s perseverance and laugh at moments when she reveals her unfamiliarity with Canadian customs, such as when Tuyet doesn’t understand why her first-ever birthday cake is ‘on fire.'”
Click here to read the full list.
Posted on April 8th, 2013 by pajamapress
“Skrypuch’s simple language captures the fear and bewilderment of a girl who’s barely had time to deal with the trauma of her escape from Vietnam and new life in a strange country when she’s confronted with yet another frightening experience. Tuyet still doesn’t speak English and although she knows they’re trying to fix her leg, she doesn’t understand why they’re doing it the way they are. However, with the help of friends she makes it through the operation. Then the real work begins as she struggles with physical therapy and recovery. However, Tuyet has boundless determination and insists on standing on her own two feet, both emotionally and physically, and finally triumphs. Along the way there are incidents and growing experiences that give the reader a good look not only at Tuyet’s childhood but also at the time period…Recommended.”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on March 5th, 2013 by pajamapress
“…Although intended for a children audience, Last Airlift is a pleasurable, fast paced book for readers of any age. Tuyet’s rescue is nothing short of miraculous. Skrypuch helps the reader see the journey through Tuyet’s eyes, from her brave attempt to eat “horrible slimy” Catalina salad dressing to the first bonding moments with her adoptive father…”
Click here to read the full review.
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 4th, 2013 by pajamapress
“The author conveys the desperate, rushed and tense atmosphere. We too feel claustrophobic as the door of the airplane shuts and the heat and smell closes in around us and Tuyet. Everyone seems kind to Tuyet but she has no understanding of why things are happening to her. Was she selected to help with the babies like she did at the orphanage or because she has one weak ankle and foot, the result of polio? Where is she going? What will happen to her once she arrives?
… the story is fascinating. Being Canadian, I think of the Vietnam War as an American war. Growing up during the 70s, even in small town Alberta, there were many ‘boat people’ settling into our schools and communities but I didn’t really know specific stories. Film, TV, and media usually depicted the American situation. I’ve seen footage of Vietnamese people desperately trying to get onto to aircraft as they were leaving Saigon. I hadn’t realized that Canada had much involvement.”—Tammy Flanders
Click here to read the full review.
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 January 2nd, 2013 by pajamapress
Pajama Press is pleased to announce that Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is a finalist for the 2012 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (CYBILS) in the category of Non-fiction: Middle Grade and Young Adult.
CYBILS nominations are collected from members of the public each year for English or bilingual books for children or young adults published in Canada or the United States. Judges from the book blogging community will announce the 2012 winners on February 14, 2013.
Last Airlift has also been shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading Red Maple Non-Fiction Award, the Red Cedar Information Book Award, and the Hamilton Literary Award.
Click here for more information about the CYBILS.
Click here for more information about Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War.
Posted on January 1st, 2013 by pajamapress
In November 2012 The Nonfiction Detectives posted a wonderful review of Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War. Now those two intrepid blogger-librarians have compiled a list of the “Top Ten History Books of 2012,” and Last Airlift shares the stage with titles like We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, and Bomb: the race to build—and steal—the world’s most dangerous weapon.
Click here to view the full list.
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!