Review: Ming’s Christmas Wishes

Major thank you to Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to review Ming’s Christmas Wishes

Ming has three wishes: To sing in the school Christmas choir, to have a Christmas tree like the one in the department store window, and to feel like she belongs somewhere. We first meet Ming, a daughter of immigrants who just really wants to sing in the Christmas choir with the rest of her classmates. After being told time and time again that she’s not allowed to be in the choir — because she’s Chinese — Ming is obviously frustrated. Still, she has to hurry home in time to prepare dinner for her mom “Mama”, father “Pop” and younger brother “Didi”. On her way home, her eye catches a Christmas tree — her second wish. When she brings it up to her parents, however, her mom scolds her for wanting to be American. After all, Chinese people don’t have Christmas trees. Pop decides to take Ming into the mountains to visit some family friends. There, he shows Ming something to remind her of their heritage, and to help her draw strength. 

  • Title: Ming’s Christmas Wishes 
  • Author: Susan L. Gong, Masahiro Tateishi (Illustrations)
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain
  • Genre: Early Reader 
  • Targeted Age Range: Early Reader
  • Representation: Predominantly Chinese cast 
  • Rating:  ★★★☆☆

I found Ming’s Christmas Wishes to be an easy read. I can’t speak to whether or not it was historically accurate, but I do think that the feeling of not fully belonging somewhere is something that is present for all immigrant children. I really enjoyed the family dynamic, and watching Ming and her father visit their family friends reminded me of my childhood too. 

Unfortunately, I felt like the title was misleading — there wasn’t much of an emphasis on the wishes, and I felt like the third wish wasn’t very clear. In fact, if it wasn’t for the synopsis, I would have assumed the wish was solely about the Christmas tree, or even the Christmas choir. Overall, I felt like this was a nice story with some good morals, although I wish there was more of an emphasis – or explanation – on why Ming wasn’t allowed to participate in the choir. I’m excited to recommend to my family members, the teachers I know, and honestly anyone who works with – or has – children.

Goodreads | TheStorygraph | Bookshop | Indie Bound

About the Author

Susan L. Gong is a former teacher of Mandarin Chinese. She holds a BA in English literature and an MA in creative writing. She and her family have lived in Asia, Europe, and North America.

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