Front Desk

Front Desk

Book - 2018
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"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?"--Page [2] of cover.
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic Inc., 2018.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781338157796
Branch Call Number: FIC/YANG
Characteristics: 286 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

This wonderful story is based on the author's own childhood and a lot of the characters and events come from author's actual experiences. This middle grade book tackles so many important topics in such a good way. It deals with topics like racism. The story asks us to question the stereotypes ... Read More »

8-12 years/Fiction

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Feb 17, 2021

A great show of the struggles that immigrants go through every day

ArapahoeJulieH Oct 17, 2020

Mia is a 10-year-old Chinese immigrant who moved to California with her parents. After a series of dead-end employment situations, the family lands a job managing the Calivista motel owned by the unscrupulous and insensitive Mr. Yao. When not attending school, Mia manages the front desk and creates a community of friends with the weekly residents. This junior novel covers array of timely topics....immigration, class, culture, race, and the importance of family, friendship, community and... holding fast to your dreams. There are unfair incidents of bigotry suffered by a weekly resident of color and how Mia comes to his defens with compassion, grace, and confidence. Many of the stories and incidents in the book mirror the life of the author who ran the front desk in the motel where her parents worked.
There is much that young readers will take away from Mia's story!

Sep 04, 2020

Amazing. I couldn't put this book down.👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

Sep 04, 2020

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! Good for 10 year old kids to understand racism.

JCLEmilyD Jun 30, 2020

It covers lots of social issues (too many in my opinion) at a shallow level of discussion. This is a wannabe memoir that doesn't have a cohesive plot. I wish the author would pick one or two plot points and flushed them out, perhaps creating a squeal or series with the other plots.

JCLEmmaF Jun 22, 2020

This book is about a 10 year old learning about language, agency, and social justice. While this book is good, and I appreciate that it comes from Yang's life, it is so packed too full to the point it's unbelievable, and perhaps overwhelming for a kid reader.

JCLLizW Feb 03, 2020

This realistic fiction - based on the author's own childhood - does an excellent job of portraying immigrant experiences, poverty, and racism in a way that does not condescend to children.

Hillsboro_RobP Jan 30, 2020

Excellent middle-grade novel that brings both the exploitation of immigrant labor and direct racism to the front for a compelling page-turner. Some of the plot points that had me doubting actually turned out to be true events in the author's life!
Although everything is painted in very broad strokes (the heavy-handed racism is intense) and the solutions a bit on the easy side (Although I love Mia, she's definitely a hero's hero), I really appreciated the angle that even though many immigrants are victims of racism, they can still hold very damaging racist views themselves. I don't think I've read another middle grade novel that addressed this.

Yang's personal story is similar to Mia's, and well worth reading in itself. Happy to see this as a 2020-2021 OBOB!

Nov 11, 2019

FABULOUS!!! Great storytelling, with tension that kept ratcheting upward. This will be one I return to again and again as a model for how to do MG novels correctly. Wonderful read.

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 27, 2019

Heartfelt novel for ages 10-12 about a poor Chinese immigrant family trying to adjust to life in California. A surefire school read-aloud.

This is a well-written, personally-felt children’s novel that can allow you to see life through the eyes of someone else in very different circumstances from you.

Mia Tang is a 10-year old fifth grader in the 1990s. Her parents thought that moving to the United States from China would allow them to escape poverty because in the United States everyone is happy and “free”. They are reduced to working menial jobs and living in an old car, until they get the opportunity to manage a motel, where they can live for free. Since they can’t hire help, they exhaust themselves cleaning the rooms, doing the laundry, and working 16-hour days. Mia, being clever, takes on the job of working the front desk whenever she is not in school. She befriends the regular renters and frequent stayers and starts to create a family atmosphere. She also begins working on a grand plan to get them out of this unsettled life.

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Feb 17, 2021

tcchow thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 28, 2020

chorokck thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jan 14, 2020

mauve_seastar_22 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 99

awesomekittygirl900 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12

OPL_KrisC Nov 27, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over


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