A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of Korean vocabulary and cultural information, and fairly advanced English vocabulary throughout the series.
Stay true to yourself and be proud of your heritage. Giving and accepting apologies is both important and mature.
Positive Role Models
Mindy's supportive dad takes time to connect with his daughter, and they share a loving honesty. Her classmates are diverse.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
Movies with Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Characters
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate