Adrift at Sea is an important contribution to Vietnamese-Canadian history


Adrift at Sea by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho, illustrated by Brian Deines
Genre: Picture Books
Pages: 40
Publisher: Pajama Press
Publication Date: September 22, 2016
Review Source: Pajama Press Review Copy

Adrift at Sea is Tuan Ho’s story of how he fled Vietnam with his mother and sister when he was only 6 years old. They’re boat, with 60 people crammed aboard, sprung a leak and was adrift in the Indian Ocean for days before an American Aircraft Carrier crossed their path and saved Tuan and his family.

This picture book is one of a kind. First of all, it is absolutely stunning. Brian Deines’ illustrations are simply mesmerizing, and I know I will catch myself flipping through this book just to admire his work. Marsha Skrypuch teamed up with Tuan Ho to tell his story of escape and survival over 35 years after Tuan has comfortably started a life in Canada. There are many stories like Tuan’s–perhaps not nearly so many with such a happy ending as Tuan’s family was fortunate enough to have–but unfortunately a dismal number of them have been shared in a book made for children. The historical notes at the end of the book that provide photos of Tuan and his family, photos of Vietnam, maps, and notes on the Vietnam War offer extra context for parents to help answer young children’s questions about why Tuan had to leave his home. Adrift at Sea will be an excellent companion to help spark a discussion about the various difficulties refugees face and experience in the wake of the current refugee crisis.


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