Episode Nine: Historical Verse Novels from the Kansas Soddy to Vietnam

Today we spotlight two historical fiction verse novels for middle grade readers (ages 8 to 12, though many older readers may enjoy them just as much). Both stories feature strong-willed girls with different language cache_7931746barriers who emerge from their tales more confident and resilient. MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose tells the story of a 12-year-old girl in 1870s Kansas who struggles with dyslexia and finds herself stranded alone in a sod house as winter approaches. INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN  by Thanhha Lai is inspired by the author’s own experiences fleeing Vietnam during the fall of Saigon and relocating to Alabama. The book’s heroine, Hà describes the fear and joy of living in Saigon before the fall, life on the fleeing navy vessel, two refugee camps and the culture shock of moving to a completely foreign land and learning a new language.may-b-3001

For those who want to learn more or share these books with young people in their lives, I suggest visiting the following websites:

Thanhha Lai’s website

Pronunciation guide for Thanhha Lai’s name

Discussion guide for INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN

Caroline Starr Rose’s website

Teacher’s guide for MAY B.

Goodreads list of middle grade verse novels

New Goodreads list of historical fiction verse novels (Since we didn’t find one to link to for you all, we started one of our own. Please visit and add your own favorite historical fiction verse novel for any age range to the list.)


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