Book Review of Pie in the Sky
The Children’s Book Review
What to Expect: Family, Grief, Immigration
When 10-year-old Jingwen moves to Australia, he can’t help feeling like he’s in an alien world. Unable to speak or understand much English, surrounded by unfamiliar people and sights, and aching with grief from the loss of his father, it seems like too much to hope that things will ever feel right again. Their mother can offer very little help since she works long hours and is hardly ever home.
However, when Jingwen’s annoying little brother Yanghao pleads with him to bake the fancy cakes they had dreamed about with their father when their plan had still been to open a bakery in Australia, Jingwen starts to feel a glimmer of happiness. Baking makes things feel right again. The only problem is their mother has forbidden them to bake while she is out. How long can Jingwen and Yanghao keep their illicit cake-baking a secret? Only time will tell…
Pie in the Sky is a funny, touching, heartbreaking, and utterly uplifting exploration of what it means to be an outsider in a community that struggles to understand you. Remy writes with empathy for the struggles faced by immigrant children and a deep understanding of how food, family, and friendship can overcome the barriers of language and culture. Told partially through hilarious blue-and-white graphic-novel-style illustration that shows readers the world through Jingwen’s eyes, the novel invites identification with this utterly relatable protagonist and, at the same time, recognition of kinship with other immigrant peers.
Pie in the Sky is one novel even the most reluctant reader is sure to get sucked into and be unable to put down.
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Remy Lai studied fine arts, with a major in painting and drawing. She was born in Indonesia, grew up in Singapore, and currently lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she writes and draws stories for kids with her two dogs by her side. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Pie in the Sky, Fly on the Wall, and Pawcasso.
Pie in the Sky, written and illustrated by Remy Lai, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Pie in the Sky by following our reviews and articles tagged with Australia, Baking, Books About Grief, Emigration and Immigration, and Illustrated Chapter Books.