Inside Out & Back Again
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by Stephanie Tyler
| 6 Questions
Inside Out & Back Again is a verse novel by Thanhha Lai. The book was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature and one of the two Newbery Honors. The novel was based on her first year in the United States, as a ten-year-old girl who spoke no English in 1975.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.
1
1
Read the following excerpt from the passage:
An older woman/ throws up her arms/ and hugs us.
We’re so startled/ we stand like trees.
Why do you think the author described the characters as standing “like trees?”
a. To show that the characters were standing very still
b. To show that the characters were standing in the forest
c. To show the characters were trying to blend in with the trees to hide from the neighbors
d. To show the characters’ stunned response to an unexpected, kind hug from a neighbor
2
1
Read the following excerpt from the passage:
Bathroom paper hangs/ like ghosts/ from our willow.
How did the author use this simile and specific word choices to create a mood in the poem
a. The word choice and simile create a silly mood and show that this was just a funny prank.
b. The word choice, “like ghosts,” means the author was hinting that their house was haunted.
c. The word choice and simile show how the narrator feels, like a ghost going unnoticed in her own family.
d. The word choice and simile create a creepy, haunting, or lonely mood to show how the family feels.
3
1
Read the following excerpt from the passage:
Redness crawls across/ my brothers’ faces./ Mother pats their backs.
What type of figurative language is used in these lines?
Personification
Simile
Metaphor
Hyperbole
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1
PART B: What emotion do the characters feel in these lines? How does the author use word choice to convey these emotions? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.
Redness crawls across/ my brothers’ faces./ Mother pats their backs.

5
1
Read the following excerpt from the passage:
Eggs explode / like smears of snot / on our front door.
PART A: What is the meaning of this simile?
The simile describes how the narrator has eggs in a frying pan being cooked for breakfast.
The simile describes how the door of the narrator was vandalized by eggs.
The simile describes how the narrator is decorating eggs for Easter.
The simile describes how the narrator dropped an egg on the floor.
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1
PART B: Select THREE ways the word choice or phrasing affect tone or mood.
The eggs were described in a violent way with the verb “exploding.”
The word “eggs” means the author feels like Humpty Dumpty, broken into pieces.
The comparison to “smears of snot” made this action seem especially gross.
The simile makes the audience feel hungry and like you have to use a tissue.
The simile sets a mood of humiliation and a sense of disgust.
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