"Meeting relatives for the first time isn't easy.
And when they speak a different language, seem to be greedy and imaptient and run a pretty crummy restaurant, it's the worst. Talk about culture shock!
For Andy and his dad-a former refugee returning for the first time-Vietnam is full of surprises. Somehow though, it also becomes the place for learning how to see things in a whole new way."
Ruth Starke has done a great job at introducing cultural differences and family bonds to middle grade readers. Andy had realistic thoughts and feelings about his extended family members and the culture they lived in. He didn't understand their rudeness, their impatience, and the manner in which they showed each other love. He also struggled with the idea of being both Australian and Vietnamese and wasn't quite sure how to blend those in a good way. The revelations that Andy came to throughout the book were some of which I think we could all learn from when it comes to different cultures...not to mention, our families!
I loved all the food aspects of the book, great descriptions that made me hungry from the very beginning. If you're a fan of Asian food, make sure you eat before the book starts or you'll be starving after the first couple of chapters!
Overall review: 3 out of 5
Hand this to your middle graders, use it as a discussion piece for different cultures and their unique qualities.
Middle Grade Fiction
Kane Miller Publishing
Review copy received from publisher
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