By Kelly Yang
AR level: 4.5
AR points: 9.0
Word count: 64,171
I suggest 4th grade+
I love it when we are introduced to tough issues through an engaging story with a lovable character. That’s exactly what Kelly Yang manages to do in Front Desk.
Immigration is a subject that should be a big point of discussion in classrooms. If you aren’t Native American, then your ancestors were foreign to this country at some point, and their journey and their reception in the U.S. says a great deal about the opportunities and challenges that would await. In this fun and intriguing story, Mia learns what it means to not only be a fish out of water, but also how to overcome obstacles and be the person she wants to be. I highly recommend this story as something that will encourage you to think about what the American dream means, and how we can all take tough moments in our lives to overcome the biggest hurdles.
Here’s the publisher description:
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?