Front Desk written by Kelly Yang is a book about diversity, strength, family and friendship. When I saw news about this book on Twitter, I was immediately interested in reading and reviewing it. As I began reading this book, I was immediately drawn to the main character Mia who is wise above her years. The struggles that Mia has gone through as a child doesn’t set her back, it actually strengthens her into a character that is ethical, devoted and responsible.
The book begins with a background of Mia Yang and her family, who immigrated from China. Told in a first person perspective, Mia recounts all of the financial and emotional struggles that her and her family has underwent through various jobs and living situations. She also discusses the challenges of learning a new language and never having enough money to sustain their living situation. For a short time, Mia and her parents needed to live out of their car. They dreamed of a free world in America and never gave up hope of finding the right job and situation and set them free. When her parents got a job managing a motel, they thought they had found their dream. Mia was even made assistant manager, which meant she got to run the front desk! Their dream was short lived because of their struggles to work with Mr. Yao, a mean boss who made everyone’s life difficult around him. What was even worse was that his son Jason was in Mia’s class!
Mia learns about herself throughout the book and finds love and friendship in the most unexpected places. She also overcomes obstacles and learns that despite others not being confident in her, she can be successful in both English and her job as assistant manager. Mia is also very strong her beliefs about diversity and treating everyone fairly, which is another valuable lesson that can learned when reading Front Desk.
This book is about triumph and character building and shouldn’t be missed! A wonderful book for both children and teachers alike.
The Real Story
What makes this book even more unique and genuine is that it’s based off of a true story. Who knows a true story better, than the person who experienced it! To learn more about Kelly Yang and the “real story”, click here.
Discussion Guide and Tools for Teachers
Don’t miss the discussion guide included in the back of the book. Use this guide at home or within the classroom to lead a discussion about a variety of topics. Don’t miss all of these resources that the author provides on her website here.