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I own two books from local authors I know:

Tran Khan Khuyet  Little Weaver of Thai-Yen Village. It is out of print but you can find used copies online.  The book illustrates the life of young Vietnamese girl whose life is interrupted by the Viet Nam war.

The second is Going Home Coming Home by Truong Tran. This story follows a girl on her first time journey to visit Viet Nam.

They’re both excellent books with substance, colorful illustrations, and written in both languages.  Non-Vietnamese folks or books that are translated into Vietnamese. Hint—we need more children book authors in our community!

Adopt Vietnam has a recommended reading list as well.  Do you have any bilingual book recommendations?

My top three favorite words:

hiền (gentle/virtuous)

dễ thương (lovely)

tình cảm (affection)

Of course, there’s never the perfect English translation for those words. Tell me some of your favorites. Btw, this is a kick-a** dictionary: vdict.com

My Favorites

Anh Hung Tran films. Some people find his films a bit slow, but I love them and watch them over and over again. The cinematography is always on point.  It’s cool that his wife always appears in the movies too.

My favorites are Xich Lo and Vertical Ray of the Sun

Mai’s America— A wonderful documentary about Mai who comes to America as an exchange student. As the viewer you become so connected with this spunky girl.

The Owl and Sparrow– This movie I could watch a few times.

Three Seasons— One of my favorite films of all time.

The Anniversary—A short film by Ham Tran which is extremely moving.

Kieu Supertalented San Francisco filmmaker Thu Ha Vu made this film which was a hit in film festivals all around the country. This was written and produced by an all women crew too. I’m still waiting for the DVD release.

Films I Can’t Sit Through

Quiet American—This film was set in Viet Nam and it was critically acclaimed. But I personally could not sit still when Michael Caine was combing through Do Thi Hai Yen’s long hair. Hmmm, it brought back bad memories of men with an Asian fetish.

Heaven and Earth—When I watched this film when I was 16, I liked it only because it was rare for me to see Vietnamese on film. When I pulled it out again at age 30, it was a totally different experience. Not a favorite in my book. Though I give props to Le Ly Hayslip for sharing her story.

Simply FObulous— My friend lent this to me as a joke. I don’t understand why the director couldn’t cast the mom with a Vietnamese actress? Instead you have someone who is Filipino play the mom. The accents are so different!

First Morning – I wished I had liked this film more. The message of the film was compelling and universal but the film was missing something.

Tearjerker Film

Hearts and Minds— An Oscar winning documentary about the war by Peter Davis. I watched this two times in a film class and I was bawling so much I had to leave the room.

Am I missing any films on the lists?

The other day I received a receipt from a bakery and my name was spelled “Oy Mguyes”. Looking at that non-Viet spelling—I cracked up. It looks more Spanish. As an adult I can now laugh at all the silly ways people pronounce and spell my name. Especially the “Nguyen” piece. Even my Filipino husband struggles with the name at times. Vietnamese names are so beautiful in our language, but they always seem to get butchered elsewhere. So, I didn’t give our son a Vietnamese first name but did give him the middle name “Thien”. His first name Kai is a popular Hawaiian and Japanese name. I didn’t want to subject him to endless years of correcting his teachers during roll call. My mom was a little upset but hey she goes by “Kim” which is not her original name either. What about you?

Well, I googled “vietnamese mothers” and “vietmom” and nothing came up in the blogosphere.  With the exception of non-vietnamese authors sharing their experiences raising adopted children from Viet Nam or raising bi-racial kids.  Well I’m a first generation Viet-American mom who wants to collect and capture stories, images, and goods that might be relevant like:

– Why our mothers want us to rest for 30 days after childbirth?

– How to teach your non-vietnamese partner our language?

– When is a good time to travel back to Viet Nam with your little ones?

– How many Vietnamese mothers are out there anyways?

– What books and toys are out there for us?

-What celebrities are adopting from VN these days?

– How many Vietmoms gave their child a vietnamese name?

I want to hear from you.  Send me your questions and share comments.