Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All the Broken Pieces

There is a special nerdy joy that comes from finding the exact perfect pair of books for a literature circle. When I started reading All the Broken Pieces, I knew it would be an excellent 'boy book' to compliment Inside Out and Back Again. Both books are written in free verse and document the experiences of a Vietnamese child that moves to the US in the 1970s.

All the Broken Pieces is far darker, though. It focuses on Matt, a talented pianist and baseball player, who is adopted. His family has a younger biological son and Matt feels tentative, as if maybe his family would return him. Much of the novel occurs internally, as Matt processes the trauma he's survived. He carries a lot of guilt about the mother and brother he left behind. He also deals with bullying from classmates whose brothers were killed in the war.

My heart grieved for Matt, who just wants to keep everyone happy, while he is eaten up inside. Ann Burg's novel was affecting and could lead to profound class discussions about how Muslims are treated in the US today. Since both All the Broken Pieces and Inside Out and Back Again are such quick reads, I would have students read both books, to give a more well-rounded view of young Vietnamese immigrants.

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading Inside Out and Back Again right now. Seriously, every time I come here I feel like I can expect to see my current read reflected. And AtBP was a Black Eyed Susan book in MD last year so I've been meaning to read it ever since it was announced! I honestly didn't have a clue what it was about and I'm so excited about using both texts in the future as partner reads!!! I hope you let us know how it works out if you use both with your class :)

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