Title: Noodle Pie
Author: Ruth Starke
Publisher: Kane Miller
Concepts: entrepreneurship, economic development, human resources, remittances, innovation, services
Review: Andy Nguyen and his father left their Australian home for several weeks to visit their relatives in Hanoi, Vietnam. Andy's father had fled Vietnam years ago, and Hanoi had changed a great deal since his departure. For Andy, who had never traveled to Vietnam before, all the traffic, pollution, noise, manners, and customs seemed so different from the way of life to which he had become accustomed.
Andy was especially taken aback by the scale of the family restaurant that his aunt and grandmother operated. In contrast to the glamorous Vietnamese restaurant he had imagined, they ran a hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment where locals sat in tiny plastic stools on the sidewalk, the cooks crowded together along the curb chopping and cooking, a strange woman sat under the stairs washing all the pots and dishes in plastic buckets, and there were no menus or sanitation practices to speak of. Andy realized that the restaurant's meager earnings helped to explain why his father wound up sending so much of his hard-earned money to Vietnam to help support his relations. Could Andy, the young newcomer, possibly stir things up a little?
Thoroughly woven into the plot are a series of valuable economics lessons related to the operations of family-owned businesses as well as remittances sent home by overseas family members. Although the writing style could have been more nuanced (much information is conveyed through questions and answers between father and son), the content has enough novelty to provide readers with an interesting snapshot of the rapidly developing city of Hanoi.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children