Millicent Min, Girl Genius is an exemplar for the #weneeddiversebooks movement. Our protagonist, Millie, is Chinese American, but it is never more than a background detail about the character. I have students who enjoyed seeing someone who looked like them on the cover of a novel, and were even happier to discover that it’s a good book.
At only eleven, Millicent has just entered the summer before her senior year of high school. That’s when everything starts to change: her mother signs her up for volleyball, her beloved grandmother is moving away, and she has to tutor the aggravating Stanford Wong. It’s not all bad, though. It seems that Millie is making a new friend, if only she doesn’t scare Emily off with her genius. We all know what happens when someone tries to hide his or her true self.
Some of my students will be reading this as part of their social issues book clubs. I’m happy that the social issue doesn’t revolve around being a minority, but rather about trying to fit in. I found Millie to be a charming narrator and am eager to hear what my students think.