After the fall of South Vietnam, fourteen-year-old Mai, a young Vietnamese girl of Chinese descent, is torn from a life of privilege and forced to flee across the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing trawler. Mai finds tenuous safety in a refugee camp on an island off the coast of Malaysia, where a greedy relative called Small Auntie offers her a place to stay—but her hospitality isn’t free. With her father’s words “You must survive” echoing in her ears, Mai endures the hardships of the camp, which are tempered only by her dreams of being sponsored by her uncle for entry into America.
But when an accident forces Mai to leave the safety of Small Auntie’s family, she meets Kien, a half-American boy who might be the only person who can keep her alive until she’s sent to the United States.
Coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth is a poignant look into life ripped apart by the ravages of war.
“Given the dearth of material about the exodus of the families that supported democracy in Vietnam, this novel has value in helping to bring home to modern readers the great costs they suffered.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This well-written . . . story puts emotions and a face to the word 'refugee.'”
—School Library Journal