Book That Encourages Empathy

Today I have a book that encourages empathy.  This is such a powerful story disguised as a fictional memoir by the author whose family also came from China to end up working and living in a motel.  My heart went out to Mia, but her attitude and resilience kept the story moving in such a positive direction that I was charmed.

Don’t forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or email so that you don’t miss a single story that encourages kids to understand the difficulties of being an immigrant while being swept up in a compelling and relatable story.  One of my favorites this year.

Title: Front Deskbook that encourages empathy front desk

Author: Kelly Yang

Target: Grades 4-8

Series: No

What this book is about:

Mia’s family has immigrated from China and they find themselves working for a motel owner who exploits their status.  They are poor, with few opportunities, so they persevere working incredible hours for little pay and living at the motel.  Mia  takes over the front desk and makes it her own while also trying to do well in school so that she can become a writer.  Her skills and confidence get a boost as she writes compelling letters for her friends that get results.  Mia deals with bullies, racism and poverty with a pragmatic attitude that will endear her to readers.

Why I love this book:

  • Oh man, this one is good.  It is autobiographical and at the back of the book, the author shares her story along with photos.  There was not a moment I wasn’t rooting for the Tang family and even though many of the issues are quite heavy and thought-provoking, the book always felt lighter because of Mia and because many of the relationships were so full of warmth and kindness.
  • I can imagine so many readers connecting with Mia.  While their circumstances may be different, their desire to help their families, their desire to fit in, and the need to feel apart of the community will resonate.  It certainly did with me.
  • This book ends on a lovely note and it will keep kids reading nonstop.  However, it also will inform kids about the immigrant experience and let immigrants know they are seen.  I grew up in San Francisco with plenty of Asian immigrants and this story felt extremely authentic to me.

Who this book is for:

Great for kids who like realistic fiction!  If your kids like the Parker Inheritance they should like this one.  

Final thoughts:

This book is so well written, I couldn’t put it down.  Kids will be caught up in Mia’s story and also be able to turn a more empathetic eye towards immigration.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Front Desk.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.