A great character and fun to read!!

CDNIS hosted New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang yesterday!

Have you heard of Kelly Yang and her book Front Desk? It’s got a bunch of awards and nominations!

Here’s a summary of this novel: think Crazy, Rich Asians and now think of the total opposite, and that’s Front Desk. 

It’s about a girl named Mia who moves to California with her parents back in the 1990s. And similar to Yang’s personal experiences, when Mia’s not at school, she working behind the front desk at the motel her parents’ manage.

Yang said that this book is 60-70% autobiographical, but ultimately it’s a work of fiction, yet based loosely on real events.

And though the reviews say it’s a book for grades 4-7, older students can certainly read it; we’ve all experienced what life is like in elementary and middle school. We can understand Mia, empathize with the characters, and get angry when there’s injustice.

Here’s a bit about Yang:

-She moved from China to the US with her parents when she was 6, speaking no English at all.

-She said nothing in her first year of school, until the end of the school year, when she said one sentence in English and shocked everyone!

-In the 3rd grade, Yang was running the motel because her limited English was still better than her parents’ very limited English. So she was answering phone calls from motel guests complaining that the room was too hot, taking bookings, asking for money or credit cards when guests checked-in (hmm, I wonder how adults felt about handing over their credit card to a 10-year old kid?!), etc.

-She wrote Front Desk to encourage her son to read more; she had never shared with her husband and kids anything about her childhood, as she felt embarrassed and ashamed about being poor, initially having little to no English, and running a motel with her parents.

Her advice for authors:

-Write, write, WRITE!

-Don’t be discouraged: she had to almost-entirely rewrite Front Desk THREE times before it was published

-Be honest when you write: readers will connect with your characters more

-Plan before you write

-Dissect movies and books: learn to question to figure out plot lines and chatacter arcs

-Read books to feed your reading muscle

-Live life: the more you do in life, the more you will have to write about!

Want to know more? 

@kellyyanghk – instagram

kellyyang.edu.hk – the Kelly Yang Project for writing advice

Come to the Library to borrow the book!!


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