Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! was not something that looked like a must read. Afterall, it seemed obvious: it was going to be about a girl who carries a lunch box and there will be some issue with it: classmates think she is a “baby” for having a lunch box. Or someone was going to bully her, and the lunchbox was going to take the brunt of the abuse. However, as the adage goes: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Geraldine is a typical kid. She loves her family and the lunches that her amah (grandmother) packs for her. That is until the new kid sitting at the lunch table (wait for it) starts to pick on her because her food stinks. (I was close, the lunch box does not come into play. Except when it talks to you, the reader. Yes, thought bubbles show what the lunchbox is thinking/saying to itself). The next day Geraldine asks her grandmother for a plain sandwich, but her grandmother makes a bao for her, which is like a sandwich). By the third day, she is upset about what people (as the other students have decided to follow suit) will think of her stinky tofu?
Of course, things work out in the end; making Maggie P. Chang’s book a neat book about learning to love what you love, try new things (Geraldine has a new friend that likes a stinky fruit from his home country), and it is ok to not like something a friend likes, but do not be mean about it. A glossary is included (explains there are words from Taiwan and China that Geraldine and her family uses, differences in spelling, what words like amah means, as well as pronouncing certain words. This I was grateful for as I always wondered about bao). There is also a tutorial showing you how to read a graphic novel, and some information on the background of the main character and family, and the culture.
It might be a bit predictable for the older/adult reader, and the story has been done before, but having a modern look helps make the story fresh. Probably best for ages 8 and up.