Travel Thursday: Inside Out & Back Again

Travel Thursday is a weekly bookish meme that combines two of my favorite things: reading and traveling. The goal is to choose a book that took you somewhere new (or somewhere you’d like to visit again)!

I would love to read more about everyone else’s literary travels as well! So here are some general guidelines for Travel Thursday if you’d like to participate!

The Rules:
  1. Every Thursday (or any Thursday you want to participate), choose a book that features somewhere you’d like to travel to! It could be somewhere you’ve never been before or somewhere you’d like to visit again.
  2. Include a description of the location and why you’d like to visit!
  3. Link back to me so I can find new blogs to follow (and add new places to my travel bucket list)!

Inside Out & Back Again

  • Author: Thanhha Lai
  • Series: N/a
  • Year of publication: 2011
  • Genre: Historical Fiction (Middle Grade)
  • Setting(s): Saigon, Vietnam; Alabama, USA
  • Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Inside Out and Back Again: Lai, Thanhhà: Books

Thoughts and Photos

This was a really interesting middle grade book! It’s beautifully written in verse, and it covers themes and a part of history that you don’t often see in middle grade books.

While most of the book is set in Alabama, the initial part of the story that’s set in Vietnam is really descriptive, captivating, and memorable.

Although this is historical fiction, I’m going to showcase photos that show modern day Saigon (now called Ho Chi Minh City) and Alabama. Without further ado, here are some photos to highlight both of these very different locations!

Ho Chi Minh City v Saigon: Why Vietnam's Biggest City Has Two Names
Ho Chi Minh City (Image by Culture Trip)
Ho Chi Minh City Guide - Everything You Need to Know About Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City (Image by Vietnam Travel Guide)
The Ultimate Saigon Vietnam Travel Guide - Nothing Familiar
Ho Chi Minh City (Image by Nothing Familiar)
Birmingham, Alabama Travel Guide - Places To Go, Restaurants and Hotels -  Alabama.Travel
Birmingham, Alabama (Image by Alabama.Travel)
The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama (Image by
North Alabama Pictures: View Photos & Images of North Alabama
North Alabama (Image by Expedia)
History and culture of Alabama | Britannica
Alabama (Image by Britannica)

What I learned about Saigon, Vietnam is that, while still commonly referred to as Saigon, it is actually now called Ho Chi Minh City. It’s located in the southern part of the country and is the largest city in Vietnam. The city surrounds the Saigon River, which is where it originally got its name. The name changed in 1975 when the North of Vietnam won the war. It was to honor the prime minister who was a revolutionary leader of the communist party ( As for Alabama, I didn’t really learn anything new. I can’t say it’s a state that’s too high on my travel bucket list, but I still would like to see it someday.

I wonder… Where in the world will my next book take me?

Leave a comment below describing your most recent literary travels!

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