2019 Companion Books

Malden Reads is pleased to announce the selection of companion books for young readers, all of which complement the themes of the 2019 main book selection, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. These books were chosen by a group of educators, librarians, and other individuals in the community offering their support and input.

Themes explored include Chinese culture, what it means for one’s identity to be a minority; motherhood, families, and adoption; the challenges that families can face with immigration; and more.

Malden Reads will offer these books for students in the Malden Public Schools at no charge, and will provide options to schools to participate in programming, as well as other resource materials. The books will be available at the Malden Public Library for Malden families and in the Linden School Little Free Library. Beginning in mid-December, the books will also be available for purchase at The Gallery gift shop at 480 Main Street in Malden.

Nonprofit organizations that are interested in receiving a small number of copies of these book selections for use with children should email maldenreads@gmail.com.

2019 Companion Books for Young Readers

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (Grades 9–12)

The Kirkus Review writes “An iteration of a quintessential American myth—immigrants come to America and experience economic exploitation and the seamy side of urban life, but education and pluck ultimately lead to success.” Girl in Translation tells about a mom who brings her daughter Kimberly to the U.S. for a better life, but ends up working in her sister’s garment factory and living in an apartment with roaches. The story tells about Kimberly’s struggles growing up as a new immigrant.






Boston to Beijing by Gordon Mathieson and Hengjia Liu (Grades 7–9)

Amazon describes the book as follows: “Beijing to Boston is a new first for novels— Written in English and Chinese, a student exchange program brings Kayla and Lanhua together…Their journey brings surprises, humor and a respectful understanding of both countries customs, traditions and lifestyles. The cultural differences and similarity is the entertaining story— woven with comedy, emotion and a little mystery.”




First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigrants Edited by Donald R. Gallo (Grades 7–9)

School Library Journal writes that this short story collection touches on a “variety of teen experiences, with enough attitude and angst to speak to young adults anywhere.” The anthology of immigration stories weaves together the theme of what’s common among immigration stories.





Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Grades 4–6)

Ten year old Mia takes on the front desk at the motel where her parents become managers. The Kirkus Review writes, “Debut author Yang weaves in autobiographical content while creating a feisty and empowered heroine. Heavy themes, including extortion, fraud, and racism, are balanced with the naïve dreams and determination of a 10-year-old.”





The Year of the Fortune Cookie by Andrea Cheng (Grades 2–5)

Anna reflects on her Asian American identity during her two week trip to China. The Kirkus Review writes, “Anna’s journey provides an opportunity to consider the question ‘Who am I,’ raised in her social studies class. Her narration clearly conveys the experience of foreign travel from a sixth-grade point of view.”’





Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin
(Grades K–2)

Pacy observes the family opening their fortune cookies, and she wants to know if they’ll come true. A review on Amazon reads that as Pacy “… waits and watches, she notices magical things happening in her family. Could the fortunes really be right?”



A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza (Pre-K)

Award winning author Keiko Kasza wrote and illustrated this heartwarming story about Choco, a yellow bird with a blue beak, who seeks out his mother throughout the animal kingdom, reminding us that a family is made of love (and not necessarily family members who looks like one another).