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Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War   Hardcover – March 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


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)

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)

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 Books Choices)

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)

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)

Immediate and compelling, this moving refugee story deserves a wide audience. (Kirkus)

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)

About the Author

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's award-winning books for young people include Last Airlift, a Red Cedar Information Book Award winner and OLA Red Maple Honour Book. Its sequel, One Step at a Time, won the OLA Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. Her YA novel Dance of the Banished is a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2015. In 2008, in recognition of her outstanding achievement in the development Ukraine's culture, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha. She lives in Brantford, Ontario.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Pajama Press (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098694954X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986949548
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marsha Skrypuch is the author of many books for children and young adults. She has written more novels about the Armenian genocide than any other author in the English speaking world, yet she is not Armenian. "I write about people who must give up everything that is dear to them and travel to a new country. To me, these people are heroic."

Marsha tricked her teachers into thinking she knew how to read until it all caught up with her in grade 4 when she failed the provincial reading exam. Adding insult to injury, they made her repeat the year. As the tallest and oldest kid in the class, she didn't want to be seen learning to read with little skinny books and she was too proud to ask for help, so she taught herself how to read by taking out the fattest book in the children's section of the Brantford Public Library -- Oliver Twist. She kept on renewing it for a whole year. Reading that book was a turning point in her life. She decided that she loved reading, and wanted to write too.

Marsha loves speaking with students of all ages, especially those who are struggling academically or who feel "different".

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tina Says VINE VOICE on December 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Last Airlift by Marsha Skrypuch is a non-fiction account of Tuyet's experience as a Vietnamese orphan. As I read the author's notes in the back, I was even more amazed at this story. Originally, Skrypuch set about to write an historical fiction story about the last airlift from Vietnam bringing children to Canada. As she talked with Tuyet, who had repressed her childhood memories of leaving Vietnam, her story re-emerged and Last Airlift became a non-fiction book about Tuyet.
Tuyet had lived at an orphanage for several years before she was airlifted out of the country. Since most of the children at the orphanage were babies, Tuyet was considered a helper and had to care for the younger children. Although she was scared on the plane, another older child, Linh, joined her and the two helped care for the scared and crying babies. When she arrives in Canada Tuyet is adopted by a kind family who already has two adopted children and one biological child. In Last Airlift her experiences in the first days in Canada are recounted as she tries numerous new and strange things.
Tuyet's story helped make the stories of Vietnamese orphans airlifted from their country more personal. I think a lot of my students would be amazed by this story- they love books that are "real" (their words) and would be rooting for Tuyet to find happiness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Keys on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This profound story is one I will never forget. I could not put the book down until I had read it to the very end. This is the compelling story, told from the perspective of a young girl who barely escapes the fall of Saigon. Anyone who is adopting a child, particularly from a different culture, will be touched by this remarkable true story.
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Format: Paperback
This book has wide double-spaced lines and relatively narrow pages. It's more like a 50-page book than a 100-page one. It was an interesting first-person perspective on what it's like to grow up in an orphanage until you're taken to a foreign land to be adopted. It would have been nice if the book had been significantly longer and included more on her adjustment.
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Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War  
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