A noteworthy review of Our Cultural Heritage from Children's Literature on November 1, 2002
Vietnamese people are among the most recent immigrants to come to the United States. The flow of immigrants from Southeast Asia was triggered by the American and South Vietnamese defeat in the long and bloody war that was waged in Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon and the victory of the communist North Vietnamese forces in 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people fled their homeland. Many of these refugees boarded boats and set out for other lands. These ‘Boat People’ faced grave dangers in the form of unseaworthy vessels, starvation, lack of water, storms, and pirates. It is estimated that 50% of the Vietnamese people who set out in boats perished before they could reach their destination. Once in nations such as Thailand, Japan, or the Philippines the Vietnamese immigrants were confronted by life in stark refugee camps or prejudice by the local people. For thousands of Vietnamese, immigration to America from these sanctuary lands became an option. The story of these brave-hearted immigrants, who accepted great danger and suffering in order to reach America, is well told in this illustrated study. Readers of this well thought out book will be provided historical background as well as information about the acculturation of the Vietnamese people who have come to the United States. This is a fascinating story and one that will give younger readers a solid introduction through a capably written work.
—Greg M. Romaneck
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