A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
Selected for the 2008 list of Notable Books for a Global Society, awarded by the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association
School Library Journal
Vietnamese and American cultural assumptions are woven seamlessly into the plot in this accessible and inviting story… the story of Binh and her family shines through the spare text, creating a welcome chance to experience another culture.
“Marsden …once again mingles two cultures…Marsden brings her tale to a satisfying close.” Kirkus
“Marsden's simply written story of family and the legacy of war is full of subtle details about life in contemporary Vietnam, and Binh is an appealing young girl whose dreams will resonate with all young readers.”
“…this quiet gem of a novel… Marsden writes with a grave but sly wit that reflects her interest in Buddhism and a poet's acuity that leaves tiny epiphanies on every page: "morning dawned, a lime green blush above the hills"; a "voice like dried leaves underfoot"; the "green faces of the men" on American money. Part of the appeal of When Heaven Fell is its feel for everyday life in a Vietnamese village: the dogs, cats and ducks underfoot, the bright fruits and vegetables, the rituals and the love of story”
“An unusually accessible introduction to the culture of modern Vietnam.”Booklist
“With uncommon honesty, Marsden digs beneath the surface story of reunion to expose a hornet's nest of issues -- economic disparity, family expectations, culture clash, sexism and racism, in this case aimed at those of mixed heritage. Marsden also develops the idea of belonging.”
The San Francisco Chronicle
HOW I GOT THE IDEA
I was traveling in Vietnam when someone told me about the documentary, "Daughter from Danang." I was very moved by the story and as I traveled kept my eyes and ears open for setting and characters. WHEN HEAVEN FELL is loosely based on that documentary.
IDEAS FOR CLASSROOM DISCUSSION:
*expectations of different cultures