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One Book, One City for Kids

Read With Us!

One Book, One City for Kids is a cool reading program that tries to get all the 5th graders in one city (Grand Rapids) to read the same book. The 2021 selection is Front Desk by Kelly Yang. 

Meet the Author.

One Book, One City for Kids Author Talk: Kelly Yang
Thursday, March 11, 2021, 6:00 pm
Virtual Event | Zoom
Please use the following link on the day and time of the event to enjoy this experience:

Meet Kelly Yang, the author of Front Desk, the 2021 One Book, One City for Kids selection. Yang will discuss her book and writing it and will answer questions from the audience during this live online event. One Book, One City for Kids is funded by the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation. 

Learn a little bit about the author

Ever since she was a little girl, Kelly Yang has LOVED telling stories. She tells all kinds of stories―stories about gutsy girls and bold boys, about motels, loan sharks, immigration, poverty, and race. The thing all her stories have in common is they are important, accessible, and filled with diverse characters.

Kelly Yang is the New York Times bestselling author of Front Desk, Parachutes, and Three Keys. Front Desk was awarded the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal, the 2019 Global Read Aloud, and has earned numerous other honors including being named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a NPR Best Book of the Year, and a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year.

She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for kids in Asia. As a writing teacher for 13 years, Kelly helped thousands of children find their voice and become better writers and more powerful speakers. 

What happens in the book?

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets: 

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. 

Number 2: 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 3: 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?

Teacher Resources


One Book, One City for Kids is funded by:

Community Partner