Front Desk

Front Desk

by Kelly Yang

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Overview

Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children's Literature!

* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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?

Front Desk joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338157802
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 05/29/2018
Sold by: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 52,701
File size: 9 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Kelly Yang is the author of Front Desk, which won the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was chosen a Best Book of the Year by multiple publications, including NPR, the Washington Post, and the New York Public Library. Kelly’s family immigrated to the United States from China when she was a young girl, and she grew up in California, in circumstances very similar to those of Mia Tang. She eventually left the motels and went to college at the age of 13, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for children in Asia and the United States. Her writing has been published in the South China Morning Post; The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic. To learn more about her and the Front Desk books, visit frontdeskthebook.com.

Customer Reviews

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Front Desk 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
LyricalReads 7 months ago
ALL THE STARS!!! Content Warnings: racism, violence/blood, emotional abuse (mother to child), bullying Front Desk is really that book that I will recommend to pretty much anybody I see. While the target audience of the novel is middle grade, I believe that readers (or even those who are not big readers) can learn a lot from the stories that Front Desk tells. In my notes I wrote how if I ever have kids, I want them to read this book, that is how much Front Desk resonated with me. And I have cousins who are around the age of Mia, and you bet that I will be throwing this book into their hands. Mia Tang is a real-life heroine but still human and flawed. She struck me as such a powerful character in her strength to keep her chin up through each and every day and her determination to make life better for her family, herself, and those around her. She also is incredibly smart, and I honestly could have learned a few things from her if I had read this when I was 10-years-old. Front Desk also unapologetically shows how people of color can still be racist towards others. Set in California, the Tang’s, Mia’s parents, work under Mr. Yao who is also Chinese. Yet Mia witnesses multiple times how racist Mr. Yao is to Hank, a black man who lives as a permanent resident at the motel. A Chinese security guard from down the road also shows his racism, which Mia automatically shuts down. And that is another thing I admired about Mia: when she sees or hears any sort of racism (mostly towards black people in this book), she confronts the adults about their racism, something that not many people would be willing to do. Heck, I do not, if I was 10, that I would even recognize the racism at the speed that Mia does. Mia made me almost cry when she helps Hank, although it means bending a few rules in the process (also an exhibit of her tremendous intelligence) as well as when her family helps out other Chinese immigrants just trying to live life day-by-day. I also almost started crying during a scene in the hospital. It proved that the world is not always horrible. Mia and her parents emigrated from China when she was around six or so, I believe, but four years later, they are still struggling. Her parents do not want to tell their family back in China about their situation, although those family members are now quite rich (mostly due to a real estate boom). Throughout the novel, Mia finds out what her parents mean when they say that they have more freedom in America than in China. There are many ups-and-downs–ones I was not always expecting–and Mia’s cleverness and wit kept me on my toes as a reader. All in all, Front Desk shows the importance of taking action when you see injustice, what it is like to grow up in working-class America, and the legacy of the American Dream. Another unique aspect of Front Desk is that the author grew up in a situation similar to Mia’s: Kelly Yang also lived in a motel and took charge of the front desk while her parents worked. My eyes are not dry, but my heart is happy. I honestly do not think my review did the book justice because I was reeling the entire time I was reading Front Desk. The novel gave me a unique look into the Chinese immigration experience and the diaspora, and Kelly Yang truly proves the power of storytelling.
leslie_d More than 1 year ago
Mia is what an empathetic character looks like when the wounds are fresh. At 10 years old, Mia Tang manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel, attends the 5th grade, and is a budding letter-writing activist and community organizer. In desperate straits, the opportunity for Mia and her parents to move into the Calivista Motel and take over its management seems like an ideal situation. Rent will be covered and they’ll both have work. Like many of the Chinese immigrants we meet in Front Desk, the Tangs are going to be taken advantage of, and that Mia won’t be allowed to swim in the Motel pool after all is the least of their worrisome work/living conditions. Mia doesn’t just contemplate what her appropriate response should be in the form of a lesson children, she acts. She uses her voice—and her most recently found language: writing. Mia isn’t fearless, she just exhibits “ordinary courage.” She writes letters that advocate, questioning the lines drawn. She contemplates which rule-bending risks are ethical let alone viable. She calls out her peers—and the adults in the room. It’s remarkable* how Mia disrupts, interrupts, and intervenes when the adults are speaking. Front Desk shows how one roller coaster holds onto their humanity and finds their wealth in community. Any movement towards the better is made together. It isn’t a quaint message as a consolation prize, but a compelling and life-giving portraiture. I don’t know if the novel’s resolution is too optimistic, but it does not read false. People are looking to invest in good opportunities and opportunities for good. If you are the kind of person who wants to invest in good opportunities and opportunities for good, add Kelly Yang’s Front Desk to someone’s library. In Front Desk, Yang has written for us the kind of content and character we need to read more often.
MaleehaS More than 1 year ago
Hands down, the best MG book I've read this year. Reading about the immigrant experience, poverty, and family through 10-year-old Mia Tang's perspective was eye-opening and heartwarming. Though my own family thankfully never saw such hardships when we immigrated to the U.S., Mia's story will certainly resonate with others who did and never lost (or still refusing to lose) hope in the possibility of a better future. Also, I loved Kelly Yang's effortless writing style and all the little subplots weaved into the greater plot. The Author's Note at the end left me teary. Simply amazing.
snapbookreviews More than 1 year ago
I'll never look at a motel with the same eyes again. Author Kelly Yang brings us Mia Tang, a younger version of herself, who helped her parents manage a motel in southern California in the early 1990s. Mia and her parents arrive from China with two hundred dollars, unwavering optimism, and the belief that if they work hard enough, they will achieve the American dream:  a big house, a dog, and an endless supply of juicy hamburgers. After two years of backbreaking jobs and sketchy living conditions, Mia's parents rush to sign a contract to manage the Calista Motel located five miles from Disneyland. Mr. Yao, the notoriously cheap and unscrupulous motel owner, informs the Tangs that the contract allows him to make any changes and if they don't like the terms, "Just say the word. There are ten thousand immigrants who would take your job in two seconds" (p. 27). Mia quickly makes friends with the "weeklies" and assigns herself front desk duty because her parents must clean every room themselves and be available 24/7  to check in guests. Mia's moxie and sense of justice emerge as she takes on adult responsibilities with a sense of pride and unbridled enthusiasm. She makes plenty of mistakes which makes us empathize with her struggles and root for her as she tackles the english language, bullies, crime, and embarrassment about her thrift store clothes. (Keep your eyes open for the tale of the designer jeans.) Chapters are vignettes that are strung along with seamless transitions to make reading a pure pleasure. The author captures Mia's voice so authentically that the reader is instantly drawn into the story. Mia's uses the power of the written word to advocate for herself and others. Kids will fall in love with Mia and cheer her fierce determination as she navigates her way through poverty and injustice, bringing her family, the weeklies, and everyone else who want to be part of the American dream with her.
snapbookreviews More than 1 year ago
I'll never look at a motel with the same eyes again. Author Kelly Yang brings us Mia Tang, a younger version of herself, who helped her parents manage a motel in southern California in the early 1990s. Mia and her parents arrive from China with two hundred dollars, unwavering optimism, and the belief that if they work hard enough, they will achieve the American dream:  a big house, a dog, and an endless supply of juicy hamburgers. After two years of backbreaking jobs and sketchy living conditions, Mia's parents rush to sign a contract to manage the Calista Motel located five miles from Disneyland. Mr. Yao, the notoriously cheap and unscrupulous motel owner, informs the Tangs that the contract allows him to make any changes and if they don't like the terms, "Just say the word. There are ten thousand immigrants who would take your job in two seconds" (p. 27). Mia quickly makes friends with the "weeklies" and assigns herself front desk duty because her parents must clean every room themselves and be available 24/7  to check in guests. Mia's moxie and sense of justice emerge as she takes on adult responsibilities with a sense of pride and unbridled enthusiasm. She makes plenty of mistakes which makes us empathize with her struggles and root for her as she tackles the english language, bullies, crime, and embarrassment about her thrift store clothes. (Keep your eyes open for the tale of the designer jeans.) Chapters are vignettes that are strung along with seamless transitions to make reading a pure pleasure. The author captures Mia's voice so authentically that the reader is instantly drawn into the story. Mia's uses the power of the written word to advocate for herself and others. Kids will fall in love with Mia and cheer her fierce determination as she navigates her way through poverty and injustice, bringing her family, the weeklies, and everyone else who want to be part of the American dream with her.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I didn't read it