When Clouds Touch Us (Hardcover)
A Boston Globe–Horn Book Award finalist!
Inspired by the author’s own childhood, this stunning novel in verse, the sequel to the award-winning #1 bestseller Inside Out and Back Again, picks up two years after Hà and her family arrive in Alabama as refugees from the Việt Nam War.
Hà and her family have worked hard to make a life for themselves in the US, but it hasn’t come easy. Hà has only just started to feel settled when Mother decides that the family will move to Texas for a new job.
Hà knows how hard starting over is and doesn’t want to have to do it again. But sometimes even an unwanted change can bring opportunity, new friends, and a place to call home.
This lyrical and compelling sequel to the National Book Award Medalist and Newbery Honor winning, #1 New York Times bestselling novel Inside Out and Back Again follows Hà and her family through another year of upheaval, growth, and love.
Thanhhà Lại is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award and Newbery Honor–winning Inside Out and Back Again; the celebrated Listen, Slowly; the teen novel Butterfly Yellow; and the picture book Hundred Years of Happiness. She was born in Việt Nam and now lives in New York.
"When Clouds Touch Us is a gorgeous book about upheaval, the strength of family, and fiercely reaching for the future." — Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor-winning author of Red, White, and Whole
"Poignant yet sobering.... Hà’s loneliness, coupled with guilt over her mother’s juggling multiple jobs to save up for a house, powerfully illustrates the sometimes conflicting emotional burdens that immigrant children can face in trying to take on adult responsibilities. Through piercingly spare language that boasts expert rhythm, resonance, and cadence, Lai offers a story of hope and resourcefulness, and a sensitive portrayal of one 12-year-old’s life carefully observed." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"As Lại beautifully illustrates Hà's straddling of two cultures and her desire to fit in, she draws a portrait of a life in which Hà and her siblings contribute toward making a home of their own, both literally and metaphorically. Her portrayal of the universal need for family, friendship, and a sense of belonging will resonate."
— Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"A frank and beautiful continuation of Hà’s story that is also accessible to readers meeting her for the first time and a strong depiction of both the struggles of refugees and the resilience and love one girl finds within herself." — Kirkus Reviews
"Lại captures Hà’s attempts at acclimation while still yearning for what has been lost. This memoiresque novel captures experiences that refugees in many times and places face: the sense of longing, the confusion, and the family dynamics that shift and change. Readers with older siblings, who support their family in little ways, and those who have struggled with being the “only one” in a classroom will slip easily into Lai’s world.... Ideal for fans of Linda Sue Park, Jasmine Warga, and Andrea Beatriz Arango." — Booklist
PRAISE FOR Inside Out and Back Again: “Open this book, read it slowly to savor the delicious language. This is a book that asks the reader to be careful, to pay attention, to sigh at the end.” — Kathi Appelt, bestselling author of Newbery Honor Book The Underneath
“In this poignant, funny, and unforgettable novel, Thanhha Lai shares in verse how her family escaped Vietnam before the fall of Saigon. American and Vietnamese characters alike leap to life through the voice and eyes of a ten–year–old girl—a protagonist so strong, loving, and vivid I longed to hand her a wedge of freshly cut papaya. This tenderly told tale transports readers to the time immediately after the Vietnam War and also opens hearts to newcomers displaced by war today.” — Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People
“Based in Lại’s personal experience, this first novel captures a child–refugee’s struggle with rare honesty. Written in accessible, short free–verse poems, Hà’s immediate narrative describes her mistakes—both humorous and heartbreaking; and readers will be moved by Hà’s sorrow as they recognize the anguish of being the outcast.” — Booklist (starred review)
“The taut portrayal of Hà’s emotional life is especially poignant as she cycles from feeling smart in Vietnam to struggling in the States, and finally regains academic and social confidence. An incisive portrait of human resilience.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ha’s voice is full of humor and hope.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse is rooted in the author’s childhood experiences. In her not–to–be–missed debut, Lại evokes a distinct time and place and presents a complex, realistic heroine whom readers will recognize, even if they haven’t found themselves in a strange new country.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Lại ’s spare language captures the sensory disorientation of changing cultures as well as a refugee’s complex emotions and kaleidoscopic loyalties.” — The Horn Book
“In this free-verse narrative, Lai is sparing in her details, painting big pictures with few words and evoking abundant visuals.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Told in compelling free verse.” — Brightly