After emigrating from China, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel, despite the nasty owner, Mr. Yao, who exploits them, while she works the front desk and tries to cope with fitting in at her school. - (Baker & Taylor)
Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them; while her mother (who was anengineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants--not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao's son, Jason. - (Baker & Taylor)
Four starred reviews and over ten best-of-year lists!* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewWinner 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?
Four starred reviews and over ten best-of-year lists!
* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*Starred Review* Set in the early 1990s in Anaheim, California, this earnest debut is partially inspired by the author's childhood. When Mia Tang's parents find a new job managing the Calivista motel, it seems like the answer to their prayers: free housing and a stable, secure job, neither of which have come easy to the recent Chinese immigrants. Fifth-grader Mia takes pride in working the front desk and becomes fast friends with the weeklies, for whom the motel is a semipermanent residence. But the motel's owner, Mr. Yao, is beyond mean—he's flat out racist—so Mia enters a writing contest to win their very own motel. It's the details that sing in this novel, particularly the small moments that feel like everything when you're a kid: winning (or not) the beloved classroom object, having your prized possession stolen, or being hurt by a parent's words. When Mia's mother says, "You're a bicycle and the other kids are cars," meaning Mia's English will never be as good as a native speaker's, it's a crushing and lingering blow, especially for a budding writer. This book will help foster empathy for the immigrant experience for young readers, while for immigrant children, it is a much-needed and validating mirror. Though some of the events toward the end may stretch believability in an otherwise realistic novel, there is plenty to appreciate and admire. Deserving of shelf space in every classroom and library. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.