Author: Ann Burg
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published Date: April 1st 2009
Genre: Middle Grade, Baseball, Adoption, Vietnam, Realistic Fiction
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Two years after being airlifted out of war-torn Vietnam, Matt Pin is haunted: by bombs that fell like dead crows, by the family -- and the terrible secret -- he left behind. Now, inside a caring adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events force him to choose between silence and candor, blame and forgiveness, fear and freedom.
By turns harrowing, dreamlike, sad, and triumphant, this searing debut novel, written in lucid verse, reveals an unforgettable perspective on the lasting impact of war and the healing power of love.
“There is darkness on the water.
There is darkness on the land.
There is darkness all around us,
but I will hold your hand.
You are safe, my precious child.
You are safe now, you are home.
We have found you and we love you.
You will never be alone.”
Matt Pin a young boy who was air lifted out at the end of Vietnam and has now been adopted by an american family. Has what most would think is the perfect American Life: Parents that love him, a little brother, good at sports & school, but he also is still struggling with what got left behind in Vietnam. His biological little brother who he feels guilty of because of what happened to him, his biological mother who says she loved him, yet has sent him away. He struggles with all of this inside, because he is afraid to talk about it in fear that his new family won't want him either.
“Sometimes the words people don't say are as powerful as the ones they do.”Verse is quickly becoming my favorite genre to read. I love how we can learn such important stories in a short amount of time in a way that makes all of the information easy to understand, yet still has a powerful impact. Matt is one of those characters that is going to stick with me for a long time. What he experienced at such a young age isn't something new. It's something that thousands of children still sadly experience today, I can only hope that they are able to have the same support system that Matt did and are able to find a way to tell what happened so that others can understand what there feeling as well.
Matt wants to make his new parents proud so he tries and do perfect at piano, plays the best he can at baseball in order to have something with his dad, and try's to get all good grades at school. On top of that his new parents are also trying very hard, they still try and make sure he knows of his culture and that he can talk to them about anything. While Matt is very grateful for that, it also isn't what he remembered of Vietnam and he is afraid to talk because he doesn't want them to not love him anymore.
With the help if his piano teacher though his parents decide to take him to a veterans meeting where he gets to see the men who 'saved him' and hear there stories about what they remember of Vietnam. As he slowly starts to learn more and get to know them, he also wants to tell what happened to him and what he remembers of the good things as well.
“Words are messy,Of course we also have the other story line of the prejudice Matt faces and how some people are just angry at him because of where he is from. We get to see him and those around him grow and realize that he is just as innocent as they are when it comes to the war and there isn't anything he can do to change that. This is also when baseball really comes into play and how they are all going to have to work together in order to be a good team.
words are all you've got
to show what matters most.”
I can't wait to read Burg's other verse book and see what I can learn from it as well.