Going Home, Coming Home

Story by Truong Tran / Illustrated by Ann Phong

Book Introduction

Going Home, Coming Home by Truong Tran, illustrated by Ann Phong is a realistic fiction book written for kids. Truong Tran, a poet, wrote this book for his nephew and niece to teach them about what makes people be who they are. Truong Tran, a Vietnamese-American, has been awarded with The Western States Prize for Poetry and the San Francisco State Poetry Center Prize. He also was the finalist for The Kiriyama Price Award for his other published works.

Background Information about the Author and Illustrator

Truong Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1969. Five years later, he and his family immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, he has written "three critically acclaimed books of poetry." Going Home, Coming Home is his first published book. Now, he teaches, lives, and continues to write in California.

Ann Phong, the illustrator, was born in Saigon, Vietnam. She escaped by boat to find refugee in Malaysia and Philippines before settling in Southern California. She holds a Masters of Fine Art through California State University and has shown her work at more than 40 galleries. She, her husband, and her two children live near Los Angeles. She currently teaches art at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Three Criteria

Going Home, Coming Home portrays accurate and authentic representation of both Vietnamese and American characters. Ba Ngoai, or grandma, looks "as if the sun has polished [her skin]" (Tran, 27). This is a characteristic of both time and the Asian heritage. Tuan, Thoa's brother, rides a motorbike at age fifteen. This gives a small glimpse into what the Vietnamese life is like. Thoa and Tuan must find a way home to Ba Ngoai's home after their play gets them lost. Tuan knew exactly where to go! "His mother's customers had heard about the family from America" (Tran, 25). Through this book, the character Ami Chi discovers who she is; both Vietnamese and American. Thoa, her new friend, made her feel at home immediately. Truong Tran celebrates diversity and humanity through his whole book! Because this story was written as a reflection of his own life, Truon was able to incorporate his experience, language, and style.


RL.4.3 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

The students will compare and contrast Am Chi's character prior to and after her trip.

I would connect this book to the children by having them discuss where they are from and how it affects who they are today.

The broader message of the book is discovery of character and heritage.

I would model my objective by first reading the book aloud and pointing out specific details. I would explain the use of a Venn Diagram while comparing and contrasting.

They would practice and apply their compare and contrast skills by filling out a Venn Diagram.


Tran, T. (2003). Going Home, Coming Home. San Francisco, California: Children's Book Press.

Smallfield, E. (2011). Truong Tran. Retrieved from http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poet/item/19481/9421/Truong-Tran

Phong, A. About Ann Phong. Retrieved from http://www.annphongart.com/about.html

(2010). Kansas College and Career Ready Standards: English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Retrieved from http://community.ksde.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=9JCOw6kQaRw%3d&tabid=5559&mid=13575