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Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire

(Cilla Lee-Jenkins #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  549 ratings  ·  167 reviews
Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! Introducing a new character who shares stories about a new sibling, being biracial, and her destiny as a future author extraordinaire in this middle grade novel.

Priscilla "Cilla" Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a best
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.

I don't read a lot of MG contemporary, and especially not books that are on the younger end of the MG age range, but I was assigned to read this one for my class. I probably never would've thought to pick it up otherwise, but I'm so glad I read it, as it was absolutely adorable. Cilla's narrative is hilarious in the way that only the zaniest 8-year-olds can be, and her family and friends are lovable, yet flawed and surprisingly compl
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
Cilla Lee-Jenkins's smart, self-aware voice will delight you and make you laugh out loud!
Corabel Shofner
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How can you not love a nine-year-old future author extraordinaire? Particularly when she was bald until she was five years old and even more when she must adjust to a brand new sibling known simply as 'the Blob.' Cilla Lee-Jenkins bounds through this book full of energy, navigating school, difficulties in reading, a biracial family. Caucasian mother and Chinese Father. And grandparents with vastly different cultures. This is a big hearted story for all to enjoy.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Completely adorable, without shying away from the tougher moments of growing up. My heart is full.
I read this book to Rory and she loved it! She wanted me to read it every night and eagerly paid attention to this 235 page + book, despite the fact it had only a few pictures. I wonder how much Rory realized that this book was a true mirror for her-- a biracial girl, part Chinese, part White, a girl who loves books and writing. These books are few and far between, but I love that Susan Tan wrote a mirror for my daughter! We read windows into so many other folks's lives; mirrors are rare. Cilla ...more
Rosalyn Eves
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an advanced review copy of Susan Tan's charming debut novel, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire. The back blurb compares Cilla to middle-grade greats like Ramona--and she is. Her voice is fresh and deft and funny and the story is both realistic and compulsively readable. This hits the magic spot that all the best middle grade books do, of being both moving and warming at once.

I particularly liked that Cilla's story, as that of a biracial girl (or as her f
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is the cutest. I love it. :')
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Cilla Lee-Jenkins! This was a sweet and funny book, and I loved all of Cilla's grand plans and her wonderful imagination. And that cover! Just too perfect!
Megan Mahajan
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh this book! I have a daughter about Cilla's age and this book brought me to tears more than once. So many times my daughter would whisper, "That's exactly how I feel!" As I read aloud to her. Susan Tan understands the mind of a child Cilla's age and this book was a beautiful reminder to parents of the people our children truly are.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
really good
Ms. Yingling
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Cilla has many of the same concerns that many almost nine year olds do-- she is worried about getting along with her best friend, concerned about school work and making the teacher happy, and struggling with the impending birth of a new sibling, whom she calls "The Blob". In addition, she is worried that her two sets of grandparents, both of whom she adores, don't get along with each other. She's fine with being half Chinese, but worries that her grandparen
Debbi Florence
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cilla Lee-Jenkins is not overly thrilled she is soon to become a big sister to The Blob (the nickname she gives to her sister after seeing the sonogram). To ensure that her family doesn’t forget about her, Cilla decides to write a story about the one topic she knows best, herself. When Cilla was five years old, a stranger (rudely) asked her what she was. Cilla, who is half Chinese and half Caucasian, didn’t quite understand the question and answered honestly that she was a future author extraord ...more
Wendy MacKnight
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
Cilla Lee-Jenkins is a Wonder. Besides being a future author extraordinaire, she is a remarkable storyteller, a good friend, and a struggling big sister to the soon-to-be born Blob. She’s also half-Chinese half-Caucasian, and her stories of being with each set of grandparents are loving and lovely. Tan does a remarkable job of getting in our heroine’s head, and Cilla is so likeable and so spot-on that we love her from page one. A wonderful debut, and I can’t wait for more Cilla!
Ellie Terry
Cilla Lee-Jenkins is one of the sweetest characters you will ever meet. You just want to pick her up and squeeze her! I love how the story explores Cilla's feelings with becoming a big sister. And my favorite part was the glossary in the back! I related well to Cilla, because when I was a child, I wanted to be a famous author when I grew up, too.
Jen Petro-Roy
This was pure early middle grade perfection. So endearing and a perfect step up for Clementine fans. I would have read this so many times as a kid.
Cilla Lee-Jenkins will steal your heart! Her voice is irresistible, and her way of looking at the world is infectiously joyful. I adored Cilla's adventures as an author extraordinaire, her budding friendships, and her lovely relationships with each of her family members. And Cilla's earnest questioning of what it means to be both a Lee and a Jenkins, both Chinese and Caucasian, was a breath of fresh air in a market glutted with books in which writing the experience of mixed-race characters is tr ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was totally cute and charming. I loved Cilla’s observations about her mixed race family, family members and friends. And her imagination and story telling. I particularly liked how she was open about her struggles (bald until 4, reading and dealing with the unborn blob). But she was particularly perceptive as to peoples’ questions (the dreaded, where are you originally from) and how her honest answers. She knew something was off but not what. Anyway, all kids can relate to Cilla’s struggles ...more
Angela Kidd Shinozaki
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. So cute for the Clementine crowd. The book resonated with me on many levels: the slightly shy but imaginative young protagonist who wants to be an author when she grows up, the mother who is pregnant, and the child with two backgrounds. Plus I really enjoyed the voice! I look forward to other books in this new series.
Sarah Krajewski
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book, but I think my kids loved it even more. What a memorable story! So many kids will be able to relate with Cilla. My own daughter wants to be an “author extraordinaire” now. She has a sign in her room declaring this, as well as a writing desk. We love Cilla, and can’t wait for book 2!
Susan Morris
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
I loved this story of Cilla, as she anxiously awaits the arrival of her baby sister while writing her first best-selling book. It also deals with a mixed-race child and her two sets of grandparents from different cultures - but told in an utterly captivating style. (Library)
Dana Middleton
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is lovely--heartfelt, honest and at moments, laugh-out-loud funny. The relationships, whether with her best friend, grandparents or the Blob, are so real and true to life. Highly recommend!
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet story of a half Chinese half Caucasian little girl trying to find her own identity in the midst of mixed traditions and family dynamics! Love that this is a story so many of my students could relate to.
Megan Sanks
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race, j
SO funny and clever.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-challenges
Read Harder Challenge #22: A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

It's hard to assess children's books, because I'm not a child, nor a parent, nor even a children's librarian. At some point I started relating to the parents in children's books - especially, in this case, because Cilla is the half-Chinese daughter of a white mom and Chinese dad, and I am hoping to be the white mom of a half-Chinese kid at some point in the near-ish future.

Cilla is a d
Jill Cd
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cilla is a fun, delightful, spunky 1/2 Chinese 1/2 Caucasian girl who is an going to be a famous author. This book deals with the fact that she will be welcoming a baby sister into her life. I love her quirky honesty. A fun book for 3rd and up.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After being ahead of my reading challenge for most of the year, I hit a massive reading slump in December and ended up with 6 books left to read in two days. So I checked out a bunch of kids' books I could read in an hour or two to meet my goal.

This one was surprisingly good. I do read children's books when they look interesting (I'm a firm believer that age ranges for books have no upper limit), but sometimes the way they're written is a bit much (as an adult reading them). This was very much w
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
In addition to being utterly delightful to read (8 year old Cilla is hilarious), this book was just about perfect for our family. Cilla's mom is Caucasian and her dad is Chinese. I've yet to read something that so deftly and kindly deals with families that are from mixed cultures. She is written with a self-awareness that is age appropriate and that opened up many great discussions with my kids. I got teary-eyed a few times thinking of the similarities of experiences between her family and ours, ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was a cute book from a precocious little girl who dreams of being an author. As a biracial and much indulged only child, Cilla is full of pep and imagination, but she also has to contend with a new baby on the way and several instances of casual racism throughout the book. I found the perspective interesting, but the story felt a little slow and disjointed at times.
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: j, realistic
Cilla struggles with the anticipation of becoming a big sister, second grade, and the fact that her two sets of grandparents don't really hang out together, even though she spends a lot of time with each set.

There was a lot I liked about this book. Cilla writes in first person (she's going to be a famous author, after all), talks about the life experiences of being a young person with grandparents from different cultures, and I appreciated the #ownvoices perspective Tan brings to this realistic
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Okay i really enjoyed this book, it is very sweet and funny! but i have some issues. 1, the snails part. Are you telling me that in this day & age a teacher had never heard of other cultures eating snails?? I have been in a lot of classrooms these past 4 years and the teachers are very enlightened. Teachers are the ones who introduced me to other cultures in the first place AND are the reason i’ve had snails as well! So not only do i find that hard to believe, but i also find it perplexing that ...more
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