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Three Keys

"An off-the-scale amazing story of a community coming together in the face of anti-immigrant attitudes"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Like its perfectly-voiced predecessor, Front Desk, I couldn’t love Three Keys any more. From its cast of adorable, authentic characters, to the gripping story of underdogs battling bad big guys, this is a sublime masterclass in Middle Grade fiction that pretty much all 8+ year-olds will adore regardless of their usual reading preferences - it’s a story that transcends literary boundaries as it explores divisive real-life boundaries in brilliant age-appropriate style. Kelly Yang is an extraordinary writer.

 

Life is looking sunshine-bright for Mia. Her family and friends now collectively own California’s Calivista Motel and she can’t wait to hone her writing skills while taking charge of the front desk and having fun with her best friend Lupe. But clouds loom in the form of a local Governor’s anti-immigration campaign and the upcoming vote on Proposition 187. Passing this law would mean undocumented children can’t attend school, as the author witnessed first-hand as a ten-year-old Chinese immigrant in 1994.

 

When the motel appears in the background of a TV broadcast, adorable long-time guest Hank (soon to be appointed Marketing Director) adds an “as seen on TV” line to the hotel sign that sees their bookings soar. As Mia tells a journalist she’s caught the attention of, “Here we treat everyone like family…No matter who you are and where you come from”, but not everyone agrees with the Calivista’s welcoming inclusive policy. In fact, when they add “Immigrants welcome” to the sign, their bookings take a downturn - and worse, for the property is defaced with “Go back to your country” and “Whites only” abuse. 

 

As the situation escalates, Mia does what she does best - she steps up and finds hope and strength through reaching out, in this instance through forming the Kids for Kids secret club with like-minded kids at school. But reality hits home harder still when the escalating hostile environment has devastating impact on Lupe, to which Mia and co respond by standing up for what’s right in an infectious spirit of humanity. 

Joanne Owen

Star Books

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