Mia Tang has moved to the USA from China, which has changed more in her life than just the country she lives in. She now has to keep secrets about where she lives (a motel, which her parents are running), that her parents hide immigrants there (who aren’t treated very well by other people) and that she would love to be a writer (despite her mum constantly telling her that her English isn’t good enough).
To get through all of this, Mia needs to use her logic, kindness and considerate attitude to help not only herself, but other people too. There are the regulars who live at the motel with her, who need her help getting jobs. Then, there are the immigrants who she needs to keep safe when the grumpy motel owner is around. And herself. She needs to look out for herself and her family too.
This is such a heart-felt book that really explores how life might be for an immigrant who has moved to another country. Mia is a friendly, kind, intelligent main character who shows genuine care and compassion for the other people in her life. She takes on a lot of responsibility, trying to make a difference to her family, friends and the customers of the motel they are running. She is an endearing as a main character and I am sure there are a lot of children who read this that will see part of them reflected back.
Front Desk is written in a way that makes you desperate to read on and find out the fate of Mia and the other characters you meet; Kelly has created a story which inspires you to further understand what life might be like in the shoes of another person. Because of this, the reader really builds empathy.
Immigration is a context and circumstance that many children may not have come across in their own lives, but is one that will undoubtedly affect someone they know. By having books such as this on shelves, we can show children that they live in a diverse community and may not always understand what it is like for someone else. We need to show compassion and understanding to everyone we meet in order to keep working towards equality.
The follow up book, Three Keys, is also out now!
Like the sound of this book? Buy it here: https://amzn.to/39LIIjU
📚 Book gifted by publisher.