I can see why this book won the National Book Award for Young People. The author is remarkably talented at expressing raw emotion in so few words. This is the story of 10-year-old Ha who escapes the fall of Saigon with her family, survives the rescue ship experience and immigrates with the help of "her cowboy" to Alabama where she and her family endure all sorts of prejudice and racial slurs. Some background of that time period may help the reader understand a little bit more about what Ha's family went through. Great book for a book discussion.