Thanhhà Lại was born in Vietnam in the middle of the war. She wrote about growing up there and leaving on a navy ship two days before the war ended in her first novel Inside Out & Back Again, which won a Newbery Honor and a National Book Award and eight years later is still a New York Times bestseller. She is the youngest of nine children raised by a single mother. Her father went missing during the war when she was just one years old. Her life in America would begin in Alabama and despite the trauma that was going on, Thanhhà grew up in a household full of humor. Many years later as a writer, she would discover that balancing trauma with humor is what makes her voice unique. The contrast is beautifully reflected in her latest novel, Butterfly Yellow.