May 27, 2020

Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars: A Vietnamese War Ophan Finds Home

Written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Pajama Press
224 pp.
Ages 8-12
April 2020

For young readers who have not had the privilege of reading Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's award-winning non-fiction books about Son Thi Anh Tuyet, a child rescued from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War and who finds a new life in Canada, Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars offers an omnibus of the two earlier stories.  

In her first book, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War (2011), Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch tells the story of Tuyet, an eight-year orphan in today's Ho Chi Minh City who knows only bombs, soldiers, caring for babies at the orphanage and two visits from a woman and a boy. Convinced she would never be adopted because of a damaged foot and because she did not understand English, she never sees the opportunity presented to her when she is taken with numerous babies onto a plane to head away from the danger and to a new life with the Morris family in Brantford, Ontario.

In the sequel, One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way (2012), Tuyet has become a part of a family with a mom and dad, two sisters and a little brother. She no longer believes she has only been welcomed to tend to the children and, though she is still haunted by nightmares, she has learned to play and be a child again. But she has new fears when she learns that she will be undergoing surgery to resolve her foot and ankle impaired by polio. With her minimal English and her family unable to speak Vietnamese, Tuyet's world continues to be a challenge. Still, with the love and patience of her new family and other special people, she forges ahead, taking new steps forward.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch consistently tells stories about young people challenged during historical times and how they rise above the adversity to make lives for themselves. Tuyet's is such a story. She was a little girl alone, feeling her life limited to work and caring for others, never expecting much for herself. But with an airlift out of Saigon and the love of a compassionate family, Tuyet builds something new and begins to see herself as the incredible person she has always been, beyond what service she provides. Fortunately, by putting both Tuyet's stories together in an omnibus, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Pajama Press will help young readers get the whole story, saving them from a search for sequels or determining which book came first.  Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars truly gives young readers the more complete story of a Vietnamese war orphan's journey from hardships and horror to hope and home.

The two original books
Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War (2011)
One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way (2012)
were reviewed on CanLit for LittleCanadians originally
on April 9, 2012 and September 9, 2012 respectively.


  1. Thank you for the awesome review, Helen!!

    1. You're welcome, Marsha. It think it's a great idea putting the two books together in an omnibus and introducing new readers to Tuyet's story in one volume.

  2. Marsha is such a great writer and tackles some difficult but important subjects.

    1. She does. Whether it's a story of internment, WW2, persecution, pogroms, famine, genocide, or Vietnam War orphans, Marsha reminds us that these are stories of people and the need for sensitivity and compassion in the storytelling.