Listen, Slowly

Listen, Slowly 

Audience: grades 5-8
Release date: February 17, 2015
Pages: 272

The Story 

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead,  she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Story description provided by Goodreads 

The Book Trailer 


With this book, I traveled to Vietnam.
I traveled the towns with Mai, I ate exotic food,  and vividly saw all of the Vietnam Animals.
Its description was so vivid, I could see it all.To me, this is what makes this book special.

Another aspect that sets it apart, is the description of the Vietnam War, and the mystery behind what happened to Mai's grandfather in the war.  I was not exposed to the Vietnam War until I was in college. I really appreciated this history in a middle grade book. It is the perfect foothold to introduce it to my library kids. I also think that many schools will use it in in their curriculum for this purpose.


With this setting, I wanted to love this book. I wanted it to win me over in rereads, but I had the hardest time connecting to the character. I felt like Mai was just a brat. She did develop a little throughout the book, but she was very whiny & selfish.  I wanted to give Mai a time out!

I will say that this book has stuck with me. I think it is a powerful one.

Overall, I do think it is a wonderful book! It does have an audience and literary merit.


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