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Suggested ages: 7+ for read alouds
May not be a good fit for sensitive children.
I randomly received this book as part of a Sonlight package of books. I had never heard of it before, and had no expectations about it, other than Sonlight book selections are awesome. But this is fantastic! We are using it as a read aloud and my 8 year old who doesn't get excited about much is TOTALLY excited about it and never wants us to stop reading.
'Nuff said right there.
If you want a fun international read, this book fits the bill.
The Land I Lost by Quang Nhuong Huynh is the memoir of a young Vietnamese boy in a remote village before the war. With heavy emphasis on the villagers' relationship with animals, this book is full of action and adventure. From training python snakes, to catching giant 200 lb. catfish, to tiger and water buffalo fights, this book is anything but boring.
Now, just to warn you, it gets a bit bloody in places. And maybe that's why my little boy gets such a thrill out of it. (Eye roll.) If you have a sensitive child, this might not be the best book for them. The villagers have good relationships with animals (for example, they have a water buffalo that helps them in numerous ways), but they also have many dangerous animals that live near them. The villagers need to hunt these animals down, and like I said, it can get a little bloody. For example, a wild boar killed a villager, injured others and then was hunted down and killed in a pretty bloody way. It can get a little graphic for a children's book- but it is also fascinating to see such a different way of life that revolves so totally on the land, water and natural animals that surround the villagers.
We are using this book as a fun way to learn about Vietnam. My kids can now easily find it on the map, we research all of the animals it mentions, and I also gave them a very brief history of the Vietnam War, so they can understand why this man's village and his way of life does not exist anymore. This book and it's subject matter pretty much beg to be used as a creative way to learn. Dioramas, role playing, the zoo and so many other fun things could be worked into this.
This book has opened up a lot of interesting rabbit trails for us to follow and provided a lot of ideas for discussion. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
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