cover image One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Pajama Press (Orca, dist.), $17.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-927485-01-9

In this true-life historical tale of overcoming adversity, Skrypuch continues the story of Tuyet, an eight-year-old Vietnam­ese refugee and polio survivor with a damaged leg, whose rescue she narrated in Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War. Adopted by an unconditionally loving and supportive Canadian family, unable to understand or express much in English, Tuyet begins a difficult journey through surgeries and arduous physical therapy to repair her leg. Because her harrowing experiences in Vietnam are referenced only in her nightmares or fearful reactions to ordinary events, readers unfamiliar with the first book may need additional explanation to understand the history of the Vietnamese airlift and how Tuyet came to Canada (the lack of a preface or synopsis of Tuyet’s earlier experiences is problematic). Back matter includes information about polio and Canadian hospital procedures in the 1970s, as well as a resource list. While Tuyet’s quiet perseverance is inspiring, the book’s simple language and design, which includes b&w historical photos presented in unadorned fashion with the briefest of captions, give it a dated quality that may lessen its appeal for today’s readers. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)