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Mystery of the Golden Temple

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Welcome to Thailand! Nong May and her family have had a lot of bad luck lately. When nine-year-old Jess arrives in Thailand and accidentally breaks a special family treasure, it seems to only get worse. It turns out the treasure holds a secret that could change things forever! A 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Winner - Best Chapter Book Series


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Welcome to Thailand! Nong May and her family have had a lot of bad luck lately. When nine-year-old Jess arrives in Thailand and accidentally breaks a special family treasure, it seems to only get worse. It turns out the treasure holds a secret that could change things forever! A 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Winner - Best Chapter Book Series

30 review for Mystery of the Golden Temple

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meg Eden

    Thank you so much, Multicultural Children’s Book Day and Pack-n-Go Girls® for the gift of this review copy, and the opportunity to review Mystery of the Golden Temple: A Pack-n-Go Girls® Adventure! There’s a lot to love here, as well as some notes that I think are important for educators/parents to know before diving in, so I’ve organized this review into sections, which is a little different than usual (though I really liked doing this, so who knows—this might become my new format!). Remember t Thank you so much, Multicultural Children’s Book Day and Pack-n-Go Girls® for the gift of this review copy, and the opportunity to review Mystery of the Golden Temple: A Pack-n-Go Girls® Adventure! There’s a lot to love here, as well as some notes that I think are important for educators/parents to know before diving in, so I’ve organized this review into sections, which is a little different than usual (though I really liked doing this, so who knows—this might become my new format!). Remember that everything here is my own personal opinion. Likes: • I spent a summer in Chiang Mai teaching English when I was in college, so I was excited to see that this story took place there. I definitely got some flashbacks while reading. I remembered climbing up Doi Suthep with our student friends, eating song tam, and hearing phrases like mai pen rai. It was great to see a book set in a place I knew and loved so much! I don’t hear people talk about Chiang Mai much in books, so this was really nice to see. • I appreciate the integration of specific Thai facts, including the language, food, and the facts in the back. I was surprised at the level of specificity for a chapter book, but it was very refreshing. The information rang true from my limited experience. The only thing that threw me out was them riding in a taxi at the beginning. I don’t remember ever using a traditional taxi in Chiang Mai; we typically used songthaews or tuk tuks, but this may have just been my experience. I also really appreciated the hints of nuance in cultural differences, like saving face, and laughing to minimize tension and conflict. I love that Jess comes to realize this over the course of the story. • The takeaway message that different cultural approaches aren’t “weird,” just different was great. Encouraging children to have an open mind to different cultural practices and trying new things is so important. Jess starts out describing things she sees in negative terms (like crazy) but this transforms over the book, and I really loved seeing that. • I could definitely see myself enjoying this book as a kid. I used to read the American Girl books at this age, and I think if you have readers who love those, these are a great fit! • Pack-n-Go Girls® has some amazing supplemental resources, which I talk about more later, but this made me enjoy the text even more and definitely see it as a valuable classroom resource. Could’ve done without: • The Thai information, while great, often feels pretty exposition-y and lengthy in its introduction—not exactly how normal people would talk. I would’ve loved if this could’ve been integrated a little more naturally in places as to make it more memorable. • The beginning scene with the driver’s figures falling off his dashboard, and him crying “No, no, no…bad luck…It broken. Get out here.” left a weird taste in my mouth. First of all, I had trouble imagining a Thai person responding by crying, let alone kicking people out of his taxi (as other parts of the book express, there’s a cultural value in saving face, keeping a positive mood, and smiling despite hardship. Also, the figures were on his dashboard, so they would definitely easily fall?). But in general, it created a caricature of a superstitious, rude person. I think the intent was to foreshadow this theme of “bad luck” but at least to me, it felt a little uncomfortable in terms of representation (especially since this is the first Thai person we encounter in the book). Fortunately, the rest of the book created characters that felt authentic and rounded in representation. As I said above, Jess also grows as a character in how she perceives the culture around her, which I think also helps soften this moment in perspective of the whole book. • I wasn’t super into the good luck/bad luck theme in general. I was hoping this would be subverted in the end, encouraging Jess to not worry about luck at all, but instead there’s this idea of “oh, the bad luck was actually good luck!” This seemed unnecessary to me, and not the best lesson that could’ve been taken from the situation. But I don’t think this is necessarily a huge concern. Things you should know: • The author and illustrator seem to be white. Neither the author nor illustrator have ownvoices connections to the material, but it’s evident they did quite a bit of research. I’ve also been told that the book has had vetting from several Thai individuals. The protagonist Jess is illustrated as African American, and Nong Mai is Thai. In reading it, I did not see any details that specifically alluded to Jess or her brother being African American. I know there are a lot of different opinions on writing outside of one’s lived experiences and representation on the page, so I just want to include this information so you can make a decision as to whether this book is the best fit for you or not. I don’t know about Pack-n-Go’s other books, but I would’ve been even more excited about this book if it had an ownvoices connection. I was a little disappointed to not see a Thai illustrator or writer named. That said, it’s a fun, cute story for early readers that gives a rich introduction to Thai culture in a short space. I also wanted to note that Pack-n-Go is a series, and that their website not only lists their other books and the other countries explored, but also has some incredible supplementary resources including: • free teaching resources • blogs about travel • kid-friendly recipies and crafts • fun information about all of the countries covered in the series • free virtual author visits for classes (if you’re interested in this for your school or library, or your child’s school or library, please contact Pack-n-Go directly through their site) They also note: “The books, which are Lexile and F&P rated, are particularly good for classroom learning since the content lends itself well to cross-curricular learning, whether it’s social studies, science, reading, writing, vocabulary, or language. To further help busy teachers, we have additional teaching resources for the books on our website and at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/. The resources are tied to Common Core Standards.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Bussan

    I remember reading The Babysitter's Club books and Swiss Valley Twins books when I was in 3rd and 4th grade. What I loved about those books were two things that I loved about this book: they were part of a series so I could read more and the friendships that the characters had were what I thought was typical. In this wonderful chapter book Jess and her family travel to Thailand. The problems begin as soon as the family lands and tries to get a taxi ride to their home away from home in Chiang Mai, I remember reading The Babysitter's Club books and Swiss Valley Twins books when I was in 3rd and 4th grade. What I loved about those books were two things that I loved about this book: they were part of a series so I could read more and the friendships that the characters had were what I thought was typical. In this wonderful chapter book Jess and her family travel to Thailand. The problems begin as soon as the family lands and tries to get a taxi ride to their home away from home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The things that Jess notices about Thailand are wonderful details that any reader will enjoy. It creates a high interest story that is filled with facts for those that have a thirst for knowledge about the world. Facts about Thailand are throughout the book along with a few details about Jess' hometown of Boston, MA. Written in short chapters with a plot centered around the mystery of the bad luck and missing amulet, this is a fantastic book for 2nd through 5th grade readers. This was a sweet and bright book that includes a mysterious plot and a tale of friendship that should be shared with all young readers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews

    Pack-N-Go Girls Adventure series for young readers is an outstanding collection of books which instill a sense of curiosity and a fascination with travel and adventure for a youth audience. Authors Lisa Travis and Janelle Diller work in tandem to breathe life into this highly engaging and cunningly educational series. Each book within the collection includes a mind-tickling mystery which takes place somewhere outside the United States. As clues to the mystery unfold, readers are introduced to th Pack-N-Go Girls Adventure series for young readers is an outstanding collection of books which instill a sense of curiosity and a fascination with travel and adventure for a youth audience. Authors Lisa Travis and Janelle Diller work in tandem to breathe life into this highly engaging and cunningly educational series. Each book within the collection includes a mind-tickling mystery which takes place somewhere outside the United States. As clues to the mystery unfold, readers are introduced to the unique sights, sounds, tastes and customs of the country in which the story takes place. Intended for girls aged six through nine years, each book within the series is color-coded by country. Yellow tabbed books take place in Brazil, Green books take place in Mexico, and so on. Books are numbered sequentially for a story which progresses from one to the next. Well written and enhanced with expressive illustrations, girls are sure to love this exciting literary offering which is recommended for home and school libraries.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Fun to read with my daughters in Chiang Mai. Love the adventuresome girl characters. My girls loved the pictures.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kioka Tuck

    Everyone loves a little adventure! I was very impress with how this story, not only was a fun mystery, but it introduces you to historical facts, culture, and the language of Thailand. It allows readers of all ages to dig dipper and learn more about another country. (I received this book free from Author for Multicultural Book Day, January 27) Miss T’s Book Room Approves!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brenna

    ****I received this book free from the Author for Multicultural Children's Book Day (January 27th, 2017). **** review is here... http://brennam.booklikes.com/post/163... ****I received this book free from the Author for Multicultural Children's Book Day (January 27th, 2017). **** review is here... http://brennam.booklikes.com/post/163...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erin Buhr

    In this edition of the Pack-n-Go Girls, Jess Johnson flies with her family from Boston, MA to Thailand. Jess is well traveled due to her parents' interest in volunteer work with schools in other countries. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Jess meets Nong May and her family. Nong May's family has been having a lot of bad luck, but Nong May and Jess are hoping to find and return the family treasure that could change their fortune. Together they brave disappointments, jungles, snakes, and more. Filled with In this edition of the Pack-n-Go Girls, Jess Johnson flies with her family from Boston, MA to Thailand. Jess is well traveled due to her parents' interest in volunteer work with schools in other countries. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Jess meets Nong May and her family. Nong May's family has been having a lot of bad luck, but Nong May and Jess are hoping to find and return the family treasure that could change their fortune. Together they brave disappointments, jungles, snakes, and more. Filled with fascinating information about the language, traditions and food of Thailand this is much more than a mystery story. Jess is immersed in the Thai culture and embraces the opportunity to learn about Nong May's corner of the world. A story for young girls everywhere that will inspire them to be thoughtful, independent, open minded, and intelligent girls just like Jess and Nong May. In the back is a bonus travel section about Thailand. It offers future travelers basic facts about the country, what to expect when you are there, simple words and phrases, and pages for note taking. Whether you know a girl headed for Thailand or simply one dreaming of adventures and mysteries, this is a great book for her.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie Logonauts

    Mystery of the Golden Temple follows Jess Johnson, an nine-year old African-American girl traveling with her mother and brother to Thailand. Jess is paired up with Nong May, the Thai daughter of her mom's colleague, and the story follows their early mishaps and adventures. This was a delightful book and a quick read. At right around 100 pages and 10 chapters, it is a great fit for the emerging reader looking to move up from young fiction or easy readers into longer middle grade fiction. There's a Mystery of the Golden Temple follows Jess Johnson, an nine-year old African-American girl traveling with her mother and brother to Thailand. Jess is paired up with Nong May, the Thai daughter of her mom's colleague, and the story follows their early mishaps and adventures. This was a delightful book and a quick read. At right around 100 pages and 10 chapters, it is a great fit for the emerging reader looking to move up from young fiction or easy readers into longer middle grade fiction. There's an illustration every chapter to help with comprehension too. I really appreciated the diversity-focus of the book. The story does a great job of including culturally-specific details about Thailand and the Thais language in a way that is engaging and relevant to the story. There is a pronunciation guide and glossary in the back, and the character often provide pronunciation tips to each other in context as well. This is a great series to get girls interested in travel and exploring other countries. I will definitely be picking up more of these for my classroom!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maritza Mejia

    Mystery of the Golden Temple is more than a mystery story. The Pack-n-Go Girls series brings a fun way to get young readers to explore other cultures. Mystery of the Golden Temple follows Jess Johnson, a nine-year old African-American girl traveling with her mother and brother from Boston to Thailand. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Jess meets Nong May, the Thai daughter of her mom's colleague, and her family. Nong May's family has been having a lot of bad luck since they lost a special amulet. Nong Ma Mystery of the Golden Temple is more than a mystery story. The Pack-n-Go Girls series brings a fun way to get young readers to explore other cultures. Mystery of the Golden Temple follows Jess Johnson, a nine-year old African-American girl traveling with her mother and brother from Boston to Thailand. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Jess meets Nong May, the Thai daughter of her mom's colleague, and her family. Nong May's family has been having a lot of bad luck since they lost a special amulet. Nong May and Jess are hoping to find the family treasure that could change their future. While they venture and visit places in Thailand, they both learned from each other differences and similarities. At the end of the story, the book provides a travel section, facts and a recipe that I would love to try. This is an excellent source for parents and teachers or families that would like to know about Thailand. I recommend this book for all ages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gina Hott

    Ever since their family’s amulet disappeared, lots of bad luck has come the way of Nong May’s family. Jess and her family arrive for a visit and get lost in the Mystery of the Golden Temple – maybe they can bring some good luck back to the lovely orchid house. Hott Review: What I liked: “Mystery of the Golden Temple” is awesome! I loved how much I learned about the Thai language and people. There are tons of amazing facts and stories included while not feeling preachy or taking away from the myste Ever since their family’s amulet disappeared, lots of bad luck has come the way of Nong May’s family. Jess and her family arrive for a visit and get lost in the Mystery of the Golden Temple – maybe they can bring some good luck back to the lovely orchid house. Hott Review: What I liked: “Mystery of the Golden Temple” is awesome! I loved how much I learned about the Thai language and people. There are tons of amazing facts and stories included while not feeling preachy or taking away from the mystery. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this book, it’s so completely filled with amazingly vivid imagery that you feel like you’re in Thailand with the girls. What I didn’t like: It ended a bit quickly. More… Author: Lisa Travis & Adam Turner (Ill) Source: Kindle Free Read on October 27, 2014 Grade: B+ Ages: 6-12 Setting: Thailand Series: Pack-n-Go Girls

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Marts

    I just adore this series of fun, educational books geared toward mystery, adventure and discovering new cultures! The illustrations, the writing, the glossaries, all combine to make a really well-done series that I would recommend for anyone with young girls in their lives. This whole series is such a fun way to get young readers to explore other cultures. Great series for parents and teachers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marty Banks

    Have loved this series from the start for it's sense of culture and place, all set in fictional world young readers can relate to. I especially liked the What to Know Before You Go section in this book. Makes me want to travel with my young nieces! Have loved this series from the start for it's sense of culture and place, all set in fictional world young readers can relate to. I especially liked the What to Know Before You Go section in this book. Makes me want to travel with my young nieces!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deena Mayhew

    My niece LOVED this book! She really enjoyed the suspense of the characters searching for the temple through the jungle and fearing that they were being followed. She is looking forward to reading other books in the series - a home run hit with that 10 year old!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zainab

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marla

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anshul Chozzer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ro Menendez

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scoutaccount

  20. 5 out of 5

    Assia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kjbishop

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mardell Hochstetler

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jill Stanley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Trixi Virtucucio

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ian M. Robertson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sasank

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sariah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

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