Front Desk by Kelly Yang: Part 2

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13461

As we continue reading "Front Desk," one of the main problems of the story emerges. Mia's strength shines through, but she also begins to see just how much she has to learn about life in America.


Literary Studies, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Before beginning this lesson, you need to have read chapters 1 - 43 of Front Desk by Kelly Yang, so be sure to check out the first Related Lesson in the right-hand sidebar first!

What Do You Think?

Think about some of the secondary characters we learn more about in this section, like Jason, Lupe, and Hank.

  • Who do you find most interesting, and why?
  • What do you think will happen to them through the end of the story? What makes you think so?

If you're reading with a sibling or friend, discuss your answers together.

What Happens When You Relate to Characters in Stories?

Relating to different characters and imagining yourself in their shoes deepens your reading experience and increases your capacity for empathy. 

Empathy means you can imagine how someone is really feeling.

For example, you see a classmate getting teased and pushed to the ground. You think about how awful he must feel, so you go over and help him up. You tell him how sorry you are that he is being bullied. This is showing empathy.


In this lesson, we will add information to our Story Map from the previous Related Lesson. (Check out the right-hand sidebar if you have not completed this yet or if you need a new Story Map.)

Then, we will practice character analysis and writing from varying points of view.

Story Map

After Part 1, your Story Map should show the basic plot points for Front Desk: setting, characters, themes, and a problem. (Check out the Related Lesson in the right-hand sidebar if you need a refresher.)

In chapters 21 - 43, several important things happen that propel the story toward its conclusion.

  • Which events do you think are the most important ones from this section of the novel?

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List these events in your notebook. Then, compare them to the major events listed below:

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  • Did you list the same events?

It's okay if you had other ones as well, but the ones listed above are important to the plot of the story.

Next, add these events to your Story Map after those you included from the first 20 chapters. There are a lot of important events, but not much room on your map. You can either pare your list down to two or three of the most important events or carry your list over to the back of your paper.

Character Journal

If you haven't already, review chapters 21 - 43 and add details to the character journal you started in the last lesson.

We learn more about Mia, her parents, and Mr. Yao in this section. We also get much deeper insights into the identity traits of secondary characters like Jason, Hank, and Lupe. 

  • How did these characters contribute to the story overall?
  • What lessons does Mia learn from her friends and acquaintances? 

You might consider how she sees vulnerability in Jason when he tries to give her flowers in the auditorium.

Vulnerability means how much someone opens themselves up to possible pain or sadness.

Later, when Jason steals her pencil, she doesn't try to get back at him. Instead, she tries to appeal to his better sense by writing him a letter. This shows that she is seeing him as a whole person and not just a one-dimensional enemy.

If someone is one-dimensional, it means they only have one character trait, like being angry or mean and never happy or kind.

If Jason were simply a "bad guy," there would be no sense in trying to get through to him through honest communication. Even in times of turmoil, Mia shows empathy.

  • Do you feel like you are getting to know these characters like they're your new friends?

Move on to the Got It? section to practice comparative character analysis.

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