Activity Overview

Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.

Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Examples of Quotes from Inside Out and Back Again

"I can't make my brothers go live elsewhere, but I can hide their sandals."

"Mother smells of lavender and warmth; she’s so beautiful even if her cheeks are too hollow, her mouth too dark with worries."

"I will not risk fleeing with my children on a rickety boat." "Would a navy ship meet your approval?" "As if the navy would abandon its country?" "There won't be a South Vietnam left to abandon."

"Until you children master English, you must think, do, wish for nothing else. Not your father, not our old home, not your old friends, not our future."

"At the port we find out there’s no such thing as a secret among the Vietnamese."

"Whoever invented English should have learned to spell."

"Oh, my daughter, at times you have to fight, but preferably not with your fists."

"Not the same, but not bad at all."

"I can’t think of anything but can’t let my brothers best me, so I blurt out, What if Father is really gone?"

“Mother says, People share when they know they have escaped hunger. Shouldn't people share because there is hunger?”

“This year I hope I truly learn to fly-kick not to kick anyone so much as to fly.”

“People living on others' goodwill cannot afford political opinions.”

“Mother tells me, They tease you because they adore you.”

“How can we scramble away like rats, without honor, without dignity, when everyone must help rebuild the country?”

“Our lives will twist and twist, intermingling the old and the new until it doesn't matter which is which.”

“Why no s for two deer, but an s for two monkeys? Brother Quang says no one knows. So much for rules! Whoever invented English should be bitten by a snake.”

“I step back, hating pity, having learned from Mother that the pity giver feels better, never the pity receiver.”

“Black seeds spill like clusters of eyes, wet and crying.”

“We glide and I feel as if I'm floating.”

“Mostly, I wish I were still smart.”

“I’m practicing to be seen.”

“I need the lessons. I’m hiding in class by staring at my shoes. I’m hiding during lunch in the bathroom, eating hard rolls saved from dinner. I’m hiding during outside time in the same bathroom. I’m hiding after school until Brother Khôi rides up to our secret corner. With Vu Lee I squat in weight on legs, back straight arms at my sides, fingers relaxed, eyes everywhere at once I’m practicing to be seen.”

“Mostly I wish I were still smart.”

“People share when they know they have escaped hunger. Shouldn’t people share because there is hunger?”

“...every language has annoyances and illogical rules, as well as sensible beauty.”

“I wish our cowboy could be persuaded to buy a horse, that I could be invisible until I can talk back”

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in Inside Out and Back Again. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from Inside Out and Back Again.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write the quote and at least one sentence about what this quote means to you.
  5. Save often!

Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


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