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list price: $17.95
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
category: Children's Nonfiction
published: Nov 2011
ISBN:9780986949548
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.

Last Airlift

A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War  

by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

tagged: historical, literary, orphans & foster homes
Description

Last Airlift is the true story of the last Canadian airlift operation that left Saigon and arrived in Toronto on April 13, 1975. Son Thi Anh Tuyet was one of 57 babies and children on that flight. Based on personal interviews and enhanced with archive photos, Tuyet's story of the Saigon orphanage and her flight to Canada is an emotional and suspenseful journey brought to life by award-winning children's author, Marsha Skrypuch.

About the Author

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is a Ukrainian Canadian author acclaimed for her nonfiction and historical fiction, including Making Bombs for Hitler, The War Below, Stolen Girl, and Don't Tell the Nazis. She was awarded the Order of Princess Olha by the president of Ukraine for her writing. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario, and you can visit her online at calla.com.
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
8 to 12
Grade:
3 to 7
Awards
  • Commended, The Booklist Reader "The Refugee Experience for Children and Young Adults" selection
  • Winner, Red Cedar Information Book Award, British Columbia
  • Short-listed, Bank Street Best Book
  • Short-listed, Cooperative Children's Book Centre Award
  • Short-listed, Cybils Award
  • Runner-up, Red Maple Nonfiction Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Short-listed, Hamilton Literary Children's and Young Adult Award
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association Best Bets Selection
  • Short-listed, Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award
Editorial Review

About Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War

2013 Red Cedar Information Book Award Winner

2013 Ontario Library Association Red Maple Nonfiction Award runner-up

2013 Cybils Award shortlist

2013 Cooperative Children's Book Centre Award shortlist

2012 Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award shortlist

2012 Hamilton Literary Children's and Young Adult Award shortlist

2018 The Booklist Reader "The Refugee Experience for Children and Young Adults" selection

2013 Bank Street Best Book selection

2012 Ontario Library Association Best Bets selection

2012 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection

"Immediate and compelling, this moving refugee story deserves a wide audience."—Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent first step on the ladder that leads to such fine immigrant tales as Thanhha Lai's Inside Out & Back Again."—Horn Book Magazine

"The author tells Tuyet's story with respect and dignity, introducing readers to a brave girl caught up in the turbulent times of her country, her fears of leaving what she knew, and the joy of finding a new life."—School Library Journal

"Tuyet's remarkable true story recounts the heroic rescue on a plane bigger than her orphanage, with babies hurriedly placed in cardboard boxes and an unknown future for all. With the new foods, her own bed, eating with a fork, using a toothbrush (instead of her fingers and some salt), walking on grass (instead of rice paddies), and learning that the lights in the nighttime sky are stars instead of bombs, it's her adjustment to a foreign land and an adopted family that proves most fascinating."—Booklist

"Last Airlift is the story of an heroic deed, of one young girl's courage and resourcefulness when she most needs it, and of the ending she could not foresee...Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"[The] biographical approach helps to humanize a war that, for most readers, may seem like ancient history, and the tight focus on the airlift and Tuyet's first days with the Morrises reminds readers that they are sharing the experiences of an agemate."—Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

"Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch never strays from Tuyet's child-centered perspective in recounting her experiences. In an author's note, Skrypuch describes interviewing Tuyet (obviously now an adult), who found that she remembered more and more of the past as she talked. Dialogue takes this narrative out of the category of pure nonfiction, but Tuyet's story, with its occasional black-and-white illustrations, is no less affecting because of it."—Cooperative Center for Children's Book Choices

"Enhanced with documents and a surprising number of photographs, Airlift is a touching, multi-layered experience. The strength of Skrypuch's storytelling shows strongest in the smallest details."—Smithsonian Institute Book Dragon

"Black and white photographs and documents supplement this biographical tale. Told from the point of view of this eight year old girl, the story is quite informative and compelling. Readers who enjoy biographies will find much to admire in Tuyet."—Youth Services Book Review

 

Annotations

Top  Grade
Librarian review

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from the War

Last Airlift is the true story of the last Canadian airlift operation that left Saigon and arrived in Toronto on April 13, 1975. Son Thi Anh Tuyet was one of 57 babies and children on that flight. Based on personal interviews and enhanced with archive photos, Tuyet's story of the Saigon orphanage and her flight to Canada is an emotional and suspenseful journey brought to life by award-winning children's author, Marsha Skrypuch.

Teachers and librarians can share this biography to help students understand the refugee experience. Tuyet’s story, courage and tenacity will likely touch the hearts of readers. The inclusion of photographs add to the authenticity of this Vietnamese orphan’s journey from orphanage in Vietnam to a home in Canada. An important book to share for Social Studies curriculum when teaching Responsible Citizenship and Canada’s Interactions with the Global Community.

Teacher’s guide available (http://pajamapress.ca/resource/last_airlift_teaching_guide/)

Also available: One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Author available for class visits. @MarshaSkrypuch

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War

Thought-provoking, heartrending and inspirational, author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s first non-fiction book chronicles one woman’s account of a little-known piece of Canadian history: the Ontario government-sponsored Operation “Babylift.”

In April 1975, South Vietnamese orphans were airlifted from Saigon and flown to Ontario where they were adopted by Canadian families. This military maneuver saved interracial babies (with American blood) and disabled children from being killed by the Viet Cong. Written from the perspective of eight-year-old Tuyet, who is crippled from polio, the book gives the reader vivid insight into life in a Saigon orphanage where children never see the sky and subsist amidst a soundtrack of warfare. Tuyet’s story reveals not only the privations and misplacement caused by war but the assumptions made by well-meaning people about the desirability of Western customs and middle-class values. Plentiful food, her own room and her first family initially cause Tuyet mistrust, discomfort and even terror.

This simply written but masterfully perceptive story of human resilience and courage belongs on every school and public library shelf. Although it could be read aloud to Grade 3 students and independently by Grades 4 to 8 students (e.g., for social studies or language units), the narrative easily captures an adult. Forchuk Skrypuch, who has received numerous awards for her historical novels, enriches this slender book with photos and official documents. Historical and author’s notes, detailing relevant background to Tuyet’s plight and the author’s research methods, make engaging additions alongside a list of further resources and an index.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War

Tuyet was one of 57 orphans airlifted from Saigon to Toronto during the final days of the Vietnam War. As an older child, Tuyet feared that she would not be adopted like the other children were. Based on personal interviews and enhanced with archival photos, Tuyet’s story of the Saigon orphanage and her flight to Canada is an emotional and suspenseful journey.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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