Front Desk

Front Desk
Written by Kelly Yang

Publisher’s Summary:
Recent immigrants from China, desperate for money, ten-year-old Mia Tang’s parents take a job managing a rundown Southern California motel for skinflint Mr. Yao, whose son is the only other Chinese American in Mia’s class.

Primary Source Pairing:
Mia is a problem solver. She also has a big heart. These two attributes save the day in many ways in Front Desk. Students will be interested to learn that, according to author Kelly Yang, “Front Desk was inspired by my childhood but is a work of fiction. I would say that it is about 60% real and 40% made up” ( For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a photograph of Kelly Yang herself at age 9 in the motel parking lot where her family lived and worked. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • Make a connection to what you see in the photograph to something you read in the book Front Desk.
  • What questions do you have for author Kelly Yang?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Kelly Yang, Age 9, photograph, from Mr. Schu Read’s Watch Read Connect post: