Larissa Fan's Ten Little Dumplings is based on a true account of the life of a family member. It follows a family with 10 sons in the village of Fengfu. In Taiwanese culture, male children are prized over females, and so as Fan writes, the family is viewed as special. They're "special because they had ten sons. To have one son was considered lucky. To have ten was great luck indeed." As we see the 10 boys grow through life, a beautiful surprise awaits readers in the middle of the story.
Today’s pick is Hena Khan's most recent middle-grade book More to the Story, a retelling of the beloved Little Women. I've never read Little Women, but I adored this book, which was one of my best books in 2019. Sisters Jameela, Bisma, Maryam and Aleeza are distraught when their father has to move abroad for work -- and then one of the sisters falls ill. This is a truly heartwarming, feel-good book featuring a Pakistani-American Muslim family. If you or your kids loved this book, here are more books like More to the Story.
Real Friends is Shannon Hale's graphic memoir of her middle school experience with real friends -- and girls who weren't quite friends. Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends since Shannon came out of her shell in early elementary school. She had earlier been the shy middle child who never felt like she quite fit in anywhere. But with Adrienne, it was like she could finally exhale. But when Adrienne starts hanging out with the popular girl, Jen, Shannon suddenly doesn't know where she fits in anymore.