Tho Pham & Sandra McTavish
A gripping story of a boy's escape from Communist Vietnam by boat, based on the author's own experience.
It's 1980, and 12-year-old Tho Pham lives with his family in South Vietnam. He spends his afternoons playing soccer and cricket fighting with his friends, but life is slowly changing under the Communists. His parents are worried, and Tho knows the Communist army will soon knock on their door to make his brother, and then him, join them. Still, it shocks him when his father says that arrangements have been made for him to leave Vietnam by boat, immediately.
Thọ tries to be brave as he sets out on a harrowing journey toward the unknown. Co-authors Tho Pham and Sandra McTavish, childhood friends, have loosely based this historical fiction novel on Tho's real-life experience as one of the Vietnamese Boat People, and have included many factual details from his journey on the South China Sea and in a Philippine refugee camp. Depictions of pirate attacks, hunger and loneliness make for a riveting survival story, sure to elicit empathy for refugees.
Eventually adopted by a Canadian elementary school teacher, Tho's story is ultimately one of hope, courage and resilience. It's a valuable resource for social studies lessons on Asian culture and history, and on immigration.