Mami King

How Ma Mon Luk Found Love, Riches, and the Perfect Bowl of Soup

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Pub Date 02 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2024
Lerner Publishing Group | Millbrook Press ™

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Rejected by the parents of the girl he loves for being poor, Ma Mon Luk strikes out from China and boards a steamship headed for the Philippines in 1918.

He vows to make a fortune and return for his beloved. Ma creates a chicken noddle soup he calls mami—"ma" for his name and "mi" for noodles—and peddles it as a street vendor. He eventually earns enough to open his own restaurant and wins the approval of the parents of his true love. Joyful illustrations from award-winning illustrator Kristin Sorra and heartwarming text from debut picture book author Jacqueline Chio-Lauri blend together to create a delicious story about creativity, perseverance, and the perfect bowl of soup. Satisfy your hunger with this Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!

"A savory success story."—Booklist

"An absolutely wonderful and inspiring story, beautifully illustrated. So much depth, so many layers! But at its core, this is fundamentally a story about the enduring power of love and how that helped Ma Mon Luk to achieve the impossible…A valuable addition to any bookshelf."—Emma Pearl, author of Mending the Moon and Saving the Sun.

Rejected by the parents of the girl he loves for being poor, Ma Mon Luk strikes out from China and boards a steamship headed for the Philippines in 1918.

He vows to make a fortune and return for his...

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ISBN 9781728492353
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 14 members

Featured Reviews

Mami King was a very heartwarming biography fit for children and adults alike. The story was short but packed with lessons on hard work and perseverance. The illustrations were amazing and I could just easily picture Ma on the streets of Manila. Don't for miss the author's note and some history at the end of the book.

5 stars!

Thank you #netgalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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"Mami King" is a heartwarming children's story beautifully illustrated and one that I enjoyed that I think early readers will be sure to also find to be a pleasurable reading experience.

Just look at the cover and you can gain a glimpse to imagine how young readers between the ages of seven through ten years old will be sure to also find it eye-catching.

I know that this allegorical tale will be one that teaches children that kindness by giving and helping others yields rewards in feeling warm feelings within. To never give up on your hopes and dreams which through hard work and effort they can become a reality.

It is about a young man from Canton, China around 1918, who falls in love, but her parents won't allow her to marry him because he is poor.

It begins with Ma Mon Luk (young man) aboard the deck of a steamship with his arms stretched out leaving the port of Canton, China with longing for the girl he loves whose name is Ng Shih. You can see that he is full of angst that all who know young love is vividly portrayed through an easy to understand text in a vivid picture. The words of the young woman's parents are thoughts in his mind and from his observations of the other passengers he tells himself:

"The rich and the poor, like oil and water, didn't mix."

From what he sees aboard the ship he is thinking those sad but true words which were true in that era of his culture. They were evident throughout the world, also. He vows to himself that he will prove her parents wrong. He arrived in the Philippines in Manila's Chinatown wandering the streets in search of finding a way to earn a new living.

Through perseverance and innovation with much hard work and experimentation he creates what we know today to be delicious home made chicken noodle soup. He took it one step further by adding home made dumplings.

At the end of this story it even has a recipe that parents or caregivers can create together with young children which would be fun for both the child and parent to further enhance and taste this young man's invention.

This bowl of noodles with chicken is what this young man in the story invented that is nourishing is how he became his self made successful young businessman.

It was through trial and error that he created his bowl of noodles with chicken which, he sold by traveling and fed both the rich and poor. His kind heart made it affordable for all walks of life to buy.

He returned to China a successful young man proving to the girl who he wanted to marry parents that he was worthy of what her parents expected and they relented.

The tools that he used and how he implemented them are included in the story. Also it tells how he created his meal in a bowl through trial and error.

There is a heartfelt story at the end which having to do with the illustrator's parents which is endearing.

This will be such a great example for young and impressionable minds to learn that by giving you reap benefits far beyond monetary value. By showing kindness and generosity the inner beauty and rewards are felt within.

I liked this children's non-fiction story because it is a testament to what they learn by enjoying a warm story is factual and thus can give hope to all who read this that they can attain their dreams. It's a lesson to never give up and through hard work it gives all with a vision that success can be attained. It teaches the importance of sharing to young minds.

I loved it and am vague but this was impressively told as a work of Own Voices which I will be buying copies when it's published. I'm reiterating that the words are economical and the illustrations help to portray what the text on the page conveys. I love its biodiversity which made this appealing to me on a personal level.

Publication Date: April 2, 2024

Thank you to Net Galley, Jacqueline Chio-Lauri and Lemer Publishing Group for generously providing me with my eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#MamiKing #JacquelineChipLauri #LemerPublishingGroup #OwnVoices #NetGalley

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Mami King is a wonderful and inspiring story for children based on a real person.

China, 1918: Ma Mon Luk’s story begins with him leaving Canton for Philippines to make money as the girl he wanted to marry - her parents refused as he was poor.

In Manila, he searches for a way to earn a living. After seeing many vendors selling food, it gives him an idea for a dish. He makes noodles, cooks chicken, which he cuts and adds stock. He creates a bowl that is nourishing and comforting.

With a bamboo pole and two buckets, he travels as far as his legs would carry him. With time, his mee dish becomes so popular that he is able to open a restaurant, and he names his famous dish mami. He gives out many free bowls of mami. With his generous heart, the more he gives out, the more he receives.

With success in his hand, he returns to Canton, where the parents agree to marriage.

This story has a wonderful message of being generous, creating a space where people of all walks of life can gather, and above all the true fortune is the love of two people.

The illustrations are warm and support the words that not every child could be familiar with.

It’s presented in fairly accessible way for the target audience of 7-11 years.

It’s truly a heartwarming story, presented in beautiful way, and supported by lovely illustrations.

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This lovely, inspiring picture book biography is about an Asian entrepreneur who began working as a street vendor to make something of himself and impress the parents of the woman he loved, who wouldn't let him marry their daughter because he was poor. Through creativity and hard work, Ma Mon Luk became successful, built a restaurant chain, married the love of his life, and gave back to the community through acts of charity.

This book shows his journey to success and celebrates Filipino culture, and it's a unique, well-told story. This is a must-have for libraries, especially since it is so rare to find books set in the Philippines, and the story has cross-generational appeal. The author's and illustrator's notes at the end are also excellent.

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Miami King by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, illustrated by Kristin Sorra is the story of Ma Mon Luk, the Miami King of the Philippines. This is a nonfiction story about a poor man who left China to make his fortune so that he would be an acceptable suitor for the rich family of the woman he loved. He made his family mee soup, or chicken noodle soup, which he name Mami and sold at a market stall, then a small cafe, and ultimately a large restaurant His restaurant was eventually made into multiple branches by his sons. He was known for his kindness and generosity and his restaurants were frequented by the rich and the poor, something apparently unheard of at the time. I absolutely loved this book. The story was interesting and engaging and the illustrations were entrancing. I feel that it is important to read books to children that educate them about people from other parts of the world or that allow them to see people who look similar to themselves. This is an inspiring tale of a self made man. The fact that he also shared his wealth by feeding people in his community for free is another plus for a children’s book, showing the importance of helping others. I was especially tickled by the fact that both the author and illustrator were Filipino-American and had parents who had been frequent customers of the Miami King. I strongly recommend reading this book to the children in your life. It is a wonderful book and an important educational experience. I am voluntarily presenting this honest review after reading an advanced complementary copy of this book thanks to Netgalley and Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press.

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I have added this book to my TrueStory Bookshop and recommend it in four categories:
True Stories ~ Makers
True Stories ~ Foodies
True Stories ~ Asian and AAPI Stories
True Stories ~ Entrepreneurs

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This biographical historic fiction is based on the life of Ma Mon Luk. In 1918 his marriage proposal was turned down by the girl’s parents because he was too poor. He left China for the Philippines. To earn his fortune, he developed his own noodle recipe and took to the streets of Chinatown as a vendor. Eventually he established a popular Restaurant and returned to fetch his bride. The author has woven in just enough historical fiction to fill in the sparse details known about his life. The story is interesting, and both the love story and the success story capture the reader's interest. The art is beautiful and brings the author’s words home to the reader. I especially loved the illustration of the author’s phrase “The rich and poor, like oil and water, don’t mix.” Sorra paints puddles of both oil and water with reflections of the Rich in one and the Poor in the other. The book has an afterward which includes more information about Ma Mon Luk, a recipe for Mami and personal authors’ notes.

I based this review on an advanced reader’s copy from Learner Books and NetGalley, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own. This book is a great example of Chinese representation in Children’s Literature. That is becoming a little more common these days, but biographies of Asians are still uncommon, and a picture book set in the Philippines is even more rare. I think that any child would enjoy this story that stresses the value of hard work to reach one’s goals. After all, almost everyone enjoys a good bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup.

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