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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lyla Lee's Mindy Kim series is a heartwarming, authentic look at an 8-year-old girl trying to navigate life in a new state where her Korean heritage makes her stand out. The series, illustrated by Dung Ho, launched in January 2020 with Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade and Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business. It resonate with anyone who has changed schools, moved to a different town, or felt different because of their family's culture. Each book is packed with Korean words used (and translated) in context throughout the stories. Mindy's mom recently passed away, and she and her dad are open with their grief in touching, realistic ways. These books are great read-alouds for younger children, and advanced readers will easily follow the story and can learn some of the more challenging vocabulary.
What's the story?
In the MINDY KIM series, 8-year-old Mindy and her dad move across the United States to Florida. Already grieving after her mom's death, she's nervous to start at a new school in a new state, and wonders if she'll fit in without the large Korean American community she had in California. She stumbles a bit finding new friends, worries about her dad's happiness, and desperately wants a puppy. Even though there aren't very many people who look like her in this new town, she finds that there are lots of ways to celebrate her culture and create new traditions if she is open and honest with her friends and herself.
Is it any good?
Author Lyla Lee deftly navigates a lot of issues that kids face, especially those in immigrant families or others who don't feel like they fit into their new communities. The Mindy Kim series tackles the deep grief surrounding a parent's death, the loneliness of starting in a new school, the difficulty of friendships, and much more, and does so in a warm, loving way. The series can help readers in Mindy's situation feel like someone understands them while also helping other kids empathize.
The use of Korean words throughout is lovely, always in context and explained (types of food, clothing, ways to refer to relatives, etc.), and instills a sense of pride in the culture. Younger readers might struggle with the amount of text on each page, but more advanced readers will enjoy the story arc and challenging vocabulary. And Dung Ho's cheery illustrations help keep kids engaged.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Lyla Lee
- Illustrator: Dung Ho
- Genre: For Beginning Readers
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: January 14, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 9
- Number of pages: 96
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: April 24, 2020
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