Cover Image: Danny Chung Sums It Up

Danny Chung Sums It Up

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Member Reviews

Danny's big surprise from his parents isn't only the bunkbed they bought for his room, but also his Grandmother from China who has come to live with the family. Danny's grandmother doesn't speak any English and Danny is forced to watch her through spring break, ruining his chance to run with the cool kids.

I liked how the author handled everyday microaggressions. The complicated relationships in families and especially when the family doesn't all speak the same language. This was a light and funny book but also managed to provide deep moments as well. This isn't a necessary purchase, but would be great for libraries looking to expand their collection of diverse voices.
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This was such a cute little story! I loved every minute of it! I think a lot of middle grade students will enjoy reading this as well. It shows them that it’s okay to be different and to be who you are. All views and opinions stated in this review are my own. Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy of the arc in return for an honest review!
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This book is an awesome story. I love the connection between the child and the grandparent. This book is humorous and very entertaining.
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A warm and lovely story about family and reconnecting with our heritage. Young readers will enjoy Danny's narrative voice and his art. A highlight of the story is Danny's tenuous-turned-understanding relationship that he has with his Nai Nai (grandmother), who his parents bring from China to live with his family in the UK and has to move into the same room as him (which means no more sleepovers)! I enjoyed how the relationship between Danny and his Nai Nai tie into themes of family, kindness, empathy, and the challenges of immigrating to a new country; this story will resonate with kids of diaspora.
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Thank you Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids for access to this arc. 

I was intrigued by this cover and reading about the immigrant experience over several generations. The illustrations of what Danny “draws” over the course of the story are marvelous. There are lots of issues that are examined and most are resolved in ways that have been integrated into the story without any “where did that come from?” moments. I think younger middle school readers would enjoy it even if, for an adult, the problems are all a bit too neatly tied up in the end.

The book does an excellent job showing us Danny and his world. He’s the son of immigrants who moved to England and now work hard in their own Chinese takeaway restaurant. They want him to excel in school so that he will have an easier time. But Danny’s love is art and not maths. His parents don’t forbid him to draw but they definitely don’t encourage him either. Then what his parents see as a wonderful surprise is revealed to Danny when his Chinese grandmother unexpectedly (for him) arrives and will be sharing Danny’s room in the small apartment above the restaurant.

Danny’s feelings about this, about his relationship with his best friend Ravi, about the bullies who sometimes mock both of the boys, and his frustration with the expectations of many people are clear. The immigrant experience of his parents and his Nai Nai – different in some ways yet still similar – contrasts to Danny’s “I was born here” reality. As his Nai Nai ventures out and embraces life in Birmingham despite not speaking the language, Danny begins to see her not as an embarrassing relative but as someone willing to take on major changes in her life with exuberance as well as someone who deeply loves him and supports him.

I enjoyed watching Danny figure out who and what are really important to him. He gets to follow his passion with his parents’ approval and learns a thing or two from Nai Nai. The struggles that Danny and his family have balancing two cultures and fitting in are front and center but without being too angsty. Most of the issues are resolved – which may not be exactly realistic even if the ways this is done are believable. It’s a nice story and I liked it though I probably won’t be pulling it out to read again. C+
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With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review.

I enjoy middle grade intergenerational stories, so I liked getting to see the development of the relationship between Danny and his Nai Nai. I think this is a good story for helping kids see that math is more than simple completing computation worksheets. I know this book was first published in Britain, and while some things were changed, not all things were changed. Because of this I think there are some things that my throw of my American students.
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I really enjoyed getting to know Danny, his Nai Nai, and the rest of his family and friends. Danny has a lot of internally struggles when it comes to being loyal to his family and also trying to fit in with the cool kids at school. This gets even harder when his grandmother (Nai Nai) moves from China not just into their home but into Danny’s bedroom. It was interesting watching Danny’s relationship grow and change with his grandmother. There were some funny moments as well as heartfelt ones. Danny’s dealings with the bullies was realistic and well-done. A great middle graphic novel about family and friendship, with some math and art mixed in!
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This gave me American Born Chinese vibes but for a younger audience. I know this was originally published in England, and they switched some of the British stuff but not all of it which made this difficult to picture. I loved the drawings, but there were a lot at the beginning and then not so many towards the end; I wish we'd had more of that graphic element. A great diverse title about familial relationships and following your passions.
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Danny does not have the same positive feelings about sharing his bedroom with his grandmother from China that his parents seem to have about her coming.  But, what to me, as an adult reader was a rather predictable plot, he learns to love and appreciate her.  Nai Nai is actually the character I appreciated the most.  She's a strong woman dealing with life in a new country where she doesn't know the language.  Actually, I also really like her new-found friend, Mrs. Cruikshanks, who introduces her to the world of bingo.  Maybe we need an adult novel about these two??!!  Although not outstanding, this is good title for those needing more diverse chapter books.
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I received an electronic ARC from ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books through NetGalley.
Danny struggles in school and at home as he doesn't feel like he lives up to his parents' expectations. Readers are introduced to him and his life before a surprise is sprung on him. His paternal grandmother has arrived from China and will be sharing his bedroom. She is beyond excited to meet him and share his life. Danny - not so much. Chan wraps the rest of the book around this relationship.  Her characters come to life and middle grade readers will recognize them and connect with their lives. The story doesn't gloss over the ugly sides of school and life with extended family. She also shares the variety of reactions immigrants face in the United States as a matter of fact part of the plot.
This book opens discussion points on several levels for families or classes as middle graders explore the story and their responses to it.
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Danny lives with his parents in an apartment in Birmingham, England. His parents, immigrants from China, have a takeaway downstairs, and work long hours. Danny struggles to meet their high expectations of him; he would rather draw comics with his best friend, Ravi, than study math so he can get a better job when he grows up, although he understands how hard his parents' lives are. When they say they have a surprise for him, and even get a set of bunk beds for his room from a family friend, he is hopeful, but the surprise does not turn out to be a pleasant one. His father's mother, Nai Nai, is going to live with them, and she even takes the top bunk in his room. Not only that, but Danny is expected to show her around town and take her to social events like lawn bowling. Instead, on a recommendation from takeaway customer Mrs. Cruikshanks, he takes her to Bingo instead. Nai Nai enjoys Bingo a lot, although there are some other players who are not happy to see her and are racially prejudiced. Danny is having trouble with a math project for a big competition, but since Nai Nai is very good with numbers, he gets some help from her. Will Danny, with Nai Nai's help, find a way to balance the things that he loves with the things his parents think are important?
Strengths: Kids following their passions, dealing with real life struggles, and going about their days with good humor. This describes about 80% of the books that circulate in my library, but only about 20% of the books that are published. (These are not very scientific statistics, but just ball park.) I love that we are no longer see characters that are like Henry Huggins, but are seeing better representation across cultures, identities, and abilities. Danny isn't thrilled to have his grandmother there, but warms to her. I particularly liked Nellie Cruikshanks for some reason, and teared up at the ending! There are a lot of books about children interested in the arts, but at least Danny realizes that math isn't as bad as he has always thought. This is also my favorite sort of book to read, and when I was young, I was enthralled with the "exotic" details, like living in an apartment, or in somewhere like Birmingham!
Weaknesses: This was very similar to Shang's The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, but with drawing instead of basketball, and set in England. 
What I really think: I'm debating, since this seems a tiny bit young. Since it is an interesting, up beat story, I might buy a copy knowing that it will take some hand selling. My readers who also like to draw will find it especially interesting.
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This was a nice and sweet book about a young boy named Danny and how his life changes when his Chinese grandma comes to stay. I liked the different themes and the humor of this book. It's a great book for kids ages 9-12.
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Funny, cute story with a good setup. I liked the various pressures that were brought to play - school, family, community - but I wish the characterizations had been a bit deeper. Nai Nai in particular really deserved more depth - as arguably the second-most important character in the book, we don't really get a good idea of how she's feeling or what she's thinking. Since the book is from Danny's POV and he's only in middle school I guess that makes narrative sense... still, it would have been interesting.

A solid book otherwise, and very funny!
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An excellent MG title showcasing intergenerational relationships, Danny Chung Sums It Up will delight a wide variety of readers: those who will see their culture represented on the page and those who are interested in STEM topics. A delightful story that will have you rooting for Danny from the beginning. Highly recommended.
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Firstly, Danny and Nai Nai are the story’s highlights, and I got engrossed in the tale because of them. Danny is a fun character, and I loved his passion for drawing. The author paints the family in a realistic manner, where they don’t understand his love and expect him to excel in other areas. Nai Nai is adorable in the story and had me rolling. The author also adds humor to the story, and I found myself laughing out loud at times. For example, Nai Nai’s scenes check out the items in the minimart, or when she comes to his school and embarrass Danny was hilarious. I also loved the way they bond over the story, particularly the incident with the grapefruit. Natelle Quek also illustrated the images beautifully, and they complement the story very nicely, like we are looking at Danny’s drawings.

Similarly, the villains are also characters you love to hate. I was not too fond of Carter and his gang and even Auntie Yee for bullying Danny. The author portrayed the topic of friendship wonderfully. It was also interesting to see how Auntie Yee, being an adult, berated Danny to praise Amelia. Even some of the side characters like Mrs. Cruikshanks were adorable.

However, I wish there was more history behind Nai Nai. I enjoyed her character and would have loved it if she provided more details to the family about her life before moving in with them. While I loved some Chinese cultural information, like how they have different dialects and the New Year Animals, I wish the author provided more information.

Apart from that, I enjoyed “Danny Chung Sums It Up” and found it a delightful middle-grade novel.
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Absolutely amazing!  I enjoyed hearing the perspective of Danny, a teenage boy who has to unexpectedly share a room with his grandmother.   This story is rich in characters, honesty, and moral decision making.  A true example of what a multigenerational family situation can look like.  Great for all!  I wish I could give it over 5 stars.
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Fantasic characters. Interesting plot. The story will keep you engaged the whole time. I loved it from the first sentence.
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What happens when your grandma, who you’ve never met before, moves into the same room as you? In this funny and sweet story about an 11 year old boy who suddenly finds himself sharing a room with his chinese grandma, they face language and cultural barriers, all the while getting to know each other. This definitely reminded me of my own grandma who lived with me until she passed away when I was younger. My grandma lived in the room next door to mine and could only speak vietnamese, but this book brought back so many memories of the timeI had growing up with her and taking her out on walks and just getting to know her (thankfully for me I didn’t have a language barrier). The story is really relatable and also showcases a lot of struggles of being a POC has. Danny struggles with trying to understand the “chinese way” and just trying to fit in, and understanding his grandma’s way of life. But the book really points out how despite various barriers, being family and loving each other can cross any barrier. It was a sweet story and a must read!

*Thanks Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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