Any Day With You by Mae Respicio
Publication Date : May 5th 2020
Publisher : Random House/Lamb
Genre : Middle Grade / Asian Literature
Pages : 242
Stars : ★★★★★
A story about a creative girl who hopes that by winning a filmmaking contest, she’ll convince her great-grandfather not to move back home to the Philippines.
Kaia and her family live near the beach in California, where the fun of moviemaking is all around them. Kaia loves playing with makeup and creating special effects, turning her friends into merfolk and other magical creatures.
This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they’re working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales that her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather, tells. Tatang lives with her family and is like the sparkle of her special-effects makeup. When Tatang decides that it is time to return to his homeland in the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Any Day With You was great middle grade book aimed for middle grade readers that revolved around Kaia and her relation with her great-grandpa and her family. It was about figuring out who you are and insecurities middle child feel with elder sibling who is perfect and liked by everyone, unexpected change that come in life and how to deal with it, anxiety of living with that change, respecting wish of your loved ones and understanding what their wish means to them.
Any Day With You was first person narrative in lovely voice of Kaia that filled my heart with warmth. It was written with easy, simple short sentences, vivid details, and elucidation of Filipino word, culture and mythical creatures.
Any Day With You started with family introduction, Kaia’s big sister going to Philippines to study for summer and then to premed college in New York, her great-grandpa/Tatang (Celestino) returning from his trip to Hawaii and Kaia excited to spend her summer with Tatang, just two of them, before he went on trip again to Philippines and meet Lainey there until their return. But Tatang had his own plans. He didn’t want to return from his trip to Philippines, he wanted to spend rest of his life there. When he broke this news, Kaia couldn’t accept it. She wanted to change his mind by doing something special, giving him reason to stay, to show him she needs him and that opportunity came when Film Festival contest was announced at Camp Art Attack – summer program she attended with her best friends. I was curious to know what film they were going to shoot and if she can convince her Tatang to stay or if she will be able to understand and support his decision.
“But you know it doesn’t matter how we spend our time together. I love any day with you.”
This book had interesting and beautiful characters. Family dynamic was great and I just adored Kaia’s friends. All characters’ introduction, their characteristics, their relation with each other and support they showed to Kaia was lovely to read. It was amazing to read three generation living in one home with so much love.
“We carry a place with us ~ I think that means your roots stay planted somewhere deep inside you no matter where you live.”
Tatang was 90 years old, Filipino -American WWII veteran and was living in Los Angeles for many years. I liked this energetic man, filled with wisdom, kindness and patience. He handled Kaia’s outburst and anger nicely and went on their summer adventure and taught Kaia to always do right things. All his stories were fascinating. His guest lecture at university was most moving that changed Kaia’s perspective and was turning point in her development.
“Why were you so nice to that guy when he wasn’t?”
“My dear Kaia, I always go for the more challenging choice.”
Kaia was relatable, realistic, lovable 12 year old middle grade student. Her artistic personality shone through the pages. I loved her passion and determination. I could understand her feelings. It was natural and normal to feel insecure as middle child when all relatives boasted about her sister- Lainey’s achievements and expected her to do something as big as her. I loved the way she talked it out to her parents and Tatang. Even after her insecurities, she never disliked Lainey, in fact loved her, shared her feeling and took advice from her. I was happy when she understood her uniqueness and felt she could use her talent in doing something big and special for Tatang. Film making turned out life changing experience for her and she learned many things during her summer time with Tatang. Her development by the end of the book was great.
Best thing in the book was Kaia and Tatang’s connection and love for each other and for family. Book was filled with Filipino culture, myths, superstitions, and Asian-Amercian history. I didn’t know Filipinos were first Asian group to immigrate in America and their life after immigration. Mythical story of Bakunawa was my favorite one. There were many good messages and learning points in the story.
Sometimes life shifts, and even though we don’t have an explanation for why, we have to go with the flow and find ways to accept it.
Climax was interesting with bad news that shattered Kaia’s hope and saddened her spirit but I loved the way she came to terms with it. The see off gift she thought for Tatang was exceptional. I loved how it made my heart swell when she gave it to Tatang. There was another surprise at the end and what a beautiful surprise it was!
Any Day With You was heartwarming, charming, lovely, and a perfect middle grade story with multigenerational Filipino family and culture.Tweet
What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite book on Asian culture and myths?
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