Book Review: The Monkey King’s Daughter

monkey kings daughter

The Monkey King’s Daughter

Written by T. A. Bonis

148 pages

Published by

Publication date: 1st June 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):
The Monkey King’s Daughter isn’t about Sun Wukong, the Monkey King – it’s about his daughter, Meilin. Only, Meilin doesn’t know she’s the Monkey King’s daughter. In fact, she doesn’t know she’s half-monkey at all. As far as Meilin knows, she’s an ordinary 14 year-old high school freshman from Midland Hills, California, facing all the problems that bright young girls face at that age- flakey girlfriends, zits, too much homework, bad hair, obnoxious boys… But all of that changes when her ancient past catches up with her. (And she thought high school was gonna be easy…)
The Monkey King’s Daughter (Book One) is a new series of novels that introduces a totally fresh and exciting action/adventure hero to 8-13 year old readers.

“Just once, I’d like to have a normal birthday.” Meilin said softly, regaining her composure and wiping her eyes. “A friend over. Hamburgers instead of mooncake. See a movie. Go rollerblading. Be like the other kids. Is that too much to ask?”

First impressions: I was excited to read this as soon as I heard the description, because I loved the original story of the Monkey King and enjoy stories with bilingual and bicultural protagonists. Getting to read books like this, that I might not otherwise have come across, is one of my favourite things about taking part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
This was an original, fast-paced middle-grade adventure story where the main character, a Chinese-American girl named Meilin, wakes up to find that her whole life has been a lie. It turns out that she is actually the Monkey King’s Daughter and has inherited some of his magical skills…as well as some of his enemies!

Meilin is a realistic and relatable teenage girl. I particularly like how she had conflicting feelings about her Chinese heritage, feeling proud of some parts and struggling to reconcile it with her American surroundings in others. This is something that many children growing up in two cultures can feel, especially when they haven’t learned their heritage language to a high-enough level to feel some ownership over that ‘side’ of their culture. Her mother and Uncle Zhu were both interesting characters; at first quite straightforward, then gradually revealing more layers as the story continued.
This is sure to be a hit with anyone who loved the original antics of the Monkey King or who is looking for an adventure like no other!

“It’s the place of legend and storybook heroes you grew up with as a child – a beautiful and magical world that’s come under the spell of Darkness.”

“No, ” Meilin said, shaking her head, “In those stories, the heroes always won.”

“True,” Zhu Bajie agreed, “But those stories have already been written. This one – your story – hasn’t.”

What I liked: How Meilin’s experiences in the other world translated into newfound confidence in her ‘real’ world, the fast pace of the adventure, Meilin’s friendship with Jessie, the discussions surrounding Me-lin’s connection with her culture and language, the references to the original story of the Monkey King.
Even better if: The fight scenes were very fast and detailed, but I would have liked it if Meilin had spent some more time developing her powers, rather than magically being able to do everything straightaway. I felt that her decision to go back to her own world could have been explored further – how did her father and mother feel about this? I would have liked a bit more use of Chinese.
How you could use it in your classroom: This would be a great recommendation for any young readers who would like a fast-paced adventure and could be an interesting discussion starter about growing up with two languages or cultures.

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of A Different Pond, London Hat Hunting Mission, Do you speak chocolate?, A Fish in Foreign Waters, Ada Lovelace or The Gilded Wolves?

(Thank you very much to the author for sending me a review copy of this book! It will now be joining my classroom library where it will be enjoyed by lots of children!)

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild,

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTV, Lerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.


Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Really cool how you broke this down! I think it sounds like it deals really well with growing up in two cultures. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am always on the look-out for books like this so was delighted to get a chance to review it as part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebrations 🙂


  2. Great review! This sounds like an interesting read. I love Journey to the West, and retellings of any part if it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first retelling (although it’s more of a sequel) I have come across. Are there many more out there?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.