Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!
Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.
Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.
Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?
Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)
How can we understand others when words don’t connect us? **kmm
Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Dreams of being with handsome Billy are fruitless; dreams of making her living as an artist get Vân Ước through tough days. But the Vietnamese Australian teen may have a chance at both, if the guest creative writing teacher is right!
The transition from her Sydney immigrant neighborhood where she shares strong coffee with her lesbian-in-waiting best friend to the private school where she’s a scholarship student is jarring, as is Billy’s transformation from popular prankster to nice guy in their International Baccalaureate classes.
When a tiny bottle marked ‘wish’ just vanishes into her skin during a creative writing seminar, odd things begin to happen to Vân Ước – like Billy really paying attention to her – in a good way!
Will she be able to magically change her parents’ expectations for her future?
Can Mama’s depression be cured, years after that traumatic journey from Vietnam?
What would Jane Austen do in all these strange, changed situations?
Her name means ‘cloudwish’ – and maybe, just maybe, her dearest wishes and dreams could come true.
Smart at old school,
struggling at new school,
where is her self and center now?
While the access scholarship admits Lucy to Laurinda, privilege and social power at the fancy private school will keep this child of Chinese immigrants from true success there. Her less-educated parents want her to be happy and do well, but aren’t demanding that she ace every exam.
Her letters to funny and outspoken Linh at her old school chronicle Lucy’s worries about fitting in, finding a friend, and her baby brother’s worsening health.
How do you stay true to yourself while trying to rise?
Book info: Lucy and Linh / Alice Pung. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As a new scholarship girl at Laurinda, Lucy suddenly walks into a world of generational privilege where acceptance by ‘the Cabinet’ of most-influential students at the historic Sydney girls’ school is more important than grades or kindness.
The distance between her scruffy immigrant neighborhood and the elegance of Laurinda is more than just a bus ride, thinks Lucy, as the disconnect grows between her home life where Ma assembles garments in the back room and school days where the Cabinet connives to discredit any teacher they dislike.
Why did the girls of the Cabinet seek out Lucy?
Why must Laurinda’s social order remain the same now as last generation?
Would Lucy return to her old school where she can be herself?
Worrying about baby brother’s health amid Ma’s sewing dust, trying to understand why the Cabinet gets away with so much, wondering if she can succeed at Laurinda without completely losing herself, this teen child of Chinese immigrants pours out her new life in letters to Linh.
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