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Front Desk

Narrated by: Sunny Lu
Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Kids, Ages 8-10
5 out of 5 stars (298 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children's Literature!

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number one: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, 10-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number two: 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 three: 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?

©2018 Kelly Yang (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Truth stories

I love hearing true stories. I especially appreciated the epilogue and the reflections/council of the author.

5 people found this helpful

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Expands Compassion & Understanding (Kids&Adults!)

I've never written a book review before, but have been so touched by Kelly Tang's artful, instructive novel, I feel compelled to encourage everyone to listen to or read this book. It is awesome! My 9-year old daughter chose this book for a family listen on a 4 hour road trip. She liked the "kid in charge" concept on the cover. The novel does not disappoint! This kid-centric book offers something for the whole family, including teenagers & grandparents.

You will laugh, smile, cheer and cry for the intrepid, resourceful young heroine, Mia, as she maneuvers through typical childhood dilemmas while simultaneously forced to navigate the harsh realities of poor migrant families trying to build a new life in America. Every age will hear a different, thought provoking story. My daughter was enthralled by the themes of friendship, deep family love and the mini-primer on social justice - yes, kids can make a difference too! The adults hear the story of Mia's parents and their friends, which are moving, heartbreaking and underscore the power of light in darkness (and makes one wonder about missed opportunities to be a needed light!) We were so enthralled with the book that we listened non-stop when we got home - stealing little chunks of time wherever we could to listen as a family. The author's note at the end is eye-opening & convicting.

Kelly Yang - Your book plants seeds of love that will blossom as your readers encounter daily situations that require a deeper understanding and appreciation for what is happening with a fellow human trying to navigate a culture different than his or her family's or a fellow human trapped within the biases of culture. This book could not be more timely. Kelly, thank you for showing us all, adults and children, ways to shine a little brighter.

4 people found this helpful

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wonderful!

tremendous story and narration. an important story for now and for the future. highly recommend

4 people found this helpful

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AMAZING!!!!

This book is amazing and I'm on chapter 15 but I can't wait to read more and get to the end I highly recommend getting this book

3 people found this helpful

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This book is a winner. Don’t miss it!

This is a very very special book with the perfect narration to match the story. A book for our times. Funny, sad, joyful. For all ages from 5th grade to adults.

3 people found this helpful

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Thank you Kelly Yang

I just love your book and I want to say that this book is my favorite and it was a great one. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a great book to read.

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Moving Experience

My children and I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It movingly portrays the struggle of Mia and her family. Each setback only made us root for them even more. It spurred a lot of conversations about struggles of people. We highly enjoyed its honesty.

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Good book!

Very funny girl with her gentle family! I enjoyed listen to it! not only for children.

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Great story

Originally I ordered this book for my 8-year old boy, the 2nd generation of an immigrant family, a/k/a an ABC (American born Chinese), like Jason in the book. I wish he could learn how hard the first generation have been experienced, how to appreciate toys, housing, school he has now, and to continue the dreams of his parents. It turns out, however, my son thought the stories were a little bit creepy. Maybe it is still too young for him to understand the real world. I listened and listened and completed the whole book at 6:00 am in the morning. I love the stories not only because of the similar background and experience, but also for the hope. The hope Mia Tang has, the hope I have, the hope immigrations have whoever immigrated to this country, and the hope everyone has who lives in this world.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!!! As an adult I couldn't put it down!

I started listening to this with my daughter, I ended up listening to it into the night, long after she'd been in bed.

It reminded me of the book Espiranza's Rising, a dear favorite of mine I purchased for my niece's years ago. Now I have another fabulous book to begin gifting.

Thankful that it was truly realistic, full of hope and pain combined with deep awakening of living in someone else's shoes (or jeans😢)!