Parents need to know that this book is written in a series of short free-verse poems, which are easy to read, fast-paced, descriptive, and poignant. Though it is never preachy or instructional, the short verse poems give much information about life in Vietnam, including the foods, clothing, traditions, the encroaching war, some politics, family structure, and more. Readers will also learn about life as an immigrant as Ha struggles with a new language, eats new foods, meets new kids, deals with attitudes toward Vietnamese immigrants -- and tries to blend Vietnamese customs with new American ones. While the main character is a 10-year-old girl, this story is suitable for boys and readers in a wide age range. Parents should know that this story is filled with beauty and hope even though its backdrop is the Vietnam War.