Texas Great Read 2020

Butterfly Yellow 

by Thanhhà Lại

Thanhhà Lại Photo Credit: Paula Landry

The Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has chosen Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lại as the Texas Great Read for 2020. Every year, the Library of Congress asks each state Center for the Book to select a title that represents the state’s literary landscape to highlight at the National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress. The event showcases the importance of books and reading. In 2020, the 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival will take place virtually on the weekend of September 25-27.

 

"Butterfly Yellow" book cover

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lại 

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Thanhhà Lại is a Vietnamese-American writer of middle-grade and young adult novels with some Texas roots. She spent her teens in Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas Austin in 1988. Thanhhà remembers being in drill team, wearing a homecoming mum bigger than herself, and saying “y’all” as frequently as eating chicken fried steak. She now talks fast and loud as a New Yorker, but when in Texas she automatically switches to “y’all” and saying “Coke” to mean any soft drink. She now lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughter. Her dog Pico assists her by stepping directly on her keyboard as she types.

Her first novel, Inside Out & Back Again (2011), which won the National Book Award and a Newbery Honor, was partly based on her childhood as a refugee growing up in the southern United States. Other books include Listen, Slowly (2015) and Butterfly Yellow (2019), her young adult fiction debut.

Pronounced "Than-ha.”

 

 

Reader/Teacher Resources

Educator guide courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

Visit the author’s website for more resources.

See current and past Great Read book selections from all 50 states.

Access more Butterfly Yellow resources, including an audio excerpt, Meet-the-Author recording, and Audio Name Pronunciation with Thanhhà Lại, by visiting TeachingBooks.
These tools are available using the TexQuest (for K-12 school libraries) and TexShare (for public and academic libraries) electronic resources programs made possible by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. If you have questions regarding access please contact Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator, at k12@tsl.texas.gov.

Past Texas "Great Read" Titles

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Cover of the book What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan Cover of the book Shame the Stars

Cover of the book News of the World

Cover of the book Wish Girl

 Cover of the book Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia

Cover of the book With His Pistol In His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero


What Do You Do
with a Voice
Like That? The Story
of Extraordinary
Congresswoman
Barbara Jordan 

Chris Barton, illustrated
by Ekua Holmes

Shame the Stars

Guadalupe García McCall

News of the World

Paulette Jiles

Wish Girl

Nikki Loftin

Family Pictures/
Cuadros de Familia,

Carmen Lomas Garza

With His Pistol In His
Hand: A Border Ballad
and Its Hero

Americo Paredes

2013 2012
Cover of the book The Time It Never Rained

Cover of the book Old Yeller

The Time It
Never Rained

Elmer Kelton
Old Yeller

Fred Gipson

 

2019 Texas Great Read|2018 Texas Great Read| 2017 Texas Great Read| 2016 Texas Great Read|

Page last modified: September 16, 2020