Magnolia Wu Unfolds It All -- Book Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I'm sharing a middle school novel that brings to light some of the Asian hate going around as well as some typical middle school things. It shares life in the big city and messages that everyone's life looks better from the outside. The book is Magnolia Wu Unfolds It All by Chanel Miller. It is recommended for ages 7 to 11.

From the Publisher:

An instant New York Times, USA Today, and indie bestseller!

Award-winning author and artist Chanel Miller tells a fun, funny, and poignant story of friendship and community starring Magnolia Wu, a ten-year-old sock detective bent on returning all the lonely only socks left behind in her parents' NYC laundromat.

Down at the bottom of the tall buildings of New York City, Magnolia Wu sits inside her parents’ laundromat. She has pinned every lost sock from the laundromat onto a bulletin board in hopes that customers will return to retrieve them. But no one seems to have noticed. In fact, barely anyone has noticed Magnolia at all.

What she doesn’t know is that this is about to be her most exciting summer yet. When Iris, a new friend from California arrives, they set off across the city to solve the mystery of each missing sock, asking questions in subways and delis and plant stores and pizzerias, meeting people and uncovering the unimaginable.

With each new encounter, Magnolia learns that when you’re bold enough to head into the unknown, things start falling into place.

From Me:

Magnolia's parents are the stereotypical Chinese laundromat owners. Her parents however have tried to let Magnolia find happiness in their laundromat. She has her lost sock bulletin board, but when an angry customer comments on how stupid it is, Magnolia gives it up. However, her new friend, Iris, who has just arrived from California sees a new way for them to bond, learn and explore with the missing socks. She turns them into sock detectives. They spend their days looking for the owner of the missing socks one by one. Their adventures take them all over the place and they learn lessons everywhere. There is a sense of community as they learn about people's stories including Magnolia's parents. 

I love that Magnolia learns lessons including how her parents used to be before they had her. She learns about a fun side of each of them and finds ways to be proud of them rather than the embarrassment she has been feeling. I also love how the Asian hate that is in our current society in worked into the story as well. She also learns about some of the other kids in her class lives. She thinks they have everything, and she discovers they do not. One is lonely and another is afraid to express himself. She even learns that she doesn't need to be jealous of Iris's stories about California and how Iris might be feeling as the new person in a new city. There are so many great lessons in this book and the words are entertaining. Kids will enjoy reading the story with the mystery as well as the humor and a bit of action. It is well written and can lead to some great discussions in a class. It is also the perfect summer reading book. It takes place during the summer. I love how Magnolia is able to see the world through other's eyes and learns from them. I also love the sense of community there is in the book.