Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business

Aladdin. (Mindy Kim: Bk. 1). Feb. 2020. 96p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534440098; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781534440074.
Gr 1-3–Seven-and-a-half-year-old Mindy Kim and her dad have moved from California to Florida in the wake of her mother’s death. Mindy is not excited about starting at a new school. All her friends are back in California, but Mindy is determined to form a new social circle. When she shares her yummy seaweed snacks, she discovers lots of kids suddenly want to talk to her. Her excitement only builds as she and her newest friend develop plans for a snack business. But when things do not go as planned and Mindy lands in the principal’s office, will she be able to find any new friends? Reminiscent of Barbara Park’s “Junie B. Jones” series but with more emotional depth and life lessons effortlessly woven throughout, this first installment of a new series deals with grief, loss, and how to right a wrong. The slightly smaller type and higher-level vocabulary will appeal to young readers seeking a little more of a challenge than the typical early chapter book. The discussion of Mindy’s experiences as a young Asian American student, including bringing ‘different’ food to lunch and how she looks different from her classmates, is a welcome and necessary perspective.
VERDICT A solid choice for incorporating advanced vocabulary into early chapter book collections.
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