Humor comes at surprising moments and the growing relationship with Danny and his grandmother are the highlights of this new tale. The story is unique and a welcome addition to the middle grade shelves. Here’s the scoop from Abrams Publishers:

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.:

Danny’s narration brings out all of his frustrations at being 11 and having parents who are too busy to spend much time with him. Nai Nai doesn’t seem like the solution with her lack of English and embarrassing her grandson at the worst times. She even shows up uninvited at school and peers through the classroom window from the playground.

What Danny really loves is drawing and creating new characters in his sketch book—many which are displayed throughout. Soon though Danny’s view of his Nai Nai begins to change and their times together become more positive. It’s a journey worth taking with the Chung family. I hope more titles are in the works.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: Sept. 7, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 240


  1. It’s all about friendships with middle grade kids and this has quite a few realistic connections as to how you treat people.
  2. I especially enjoyed the kind lady, Mrs. Cruikshanks. She brings a lot of charm to the story and treats everyone with respect. Her BINGO gaming skills are pretty good, too.
  3. Love wins over in the end and what more could we ask for in these difficult times?
  4. The food. I never ate a lychee or understood what it was, but now I’m on a search to give one a try.
  5. The ending made me smile in agreement.


Maisie Chan is  British Chinese children’s author from Birmingham. She loves dim sum, yoga and travelling. She has written early readers for Hachette and Big Cat Collins, and has a collection of myths and legends out with Scholastic. She is the author of Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths (U.K.) also known as Danny Chung Sums It Up (U.S.), and the Tiger Warrior chapter book series (M Chan). She runs Bubble Tea Writers Network to support and encourage writers of East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) descent in the U.K. She has a dog called Miko, who has very big eyes and wakes up too early. She has a large old school hip hop collection. She lives in Glasgow with her family.


I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comment below and be sure to visit all the other MMGM posts .

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Any book that makes you smile with satisfaction at the end sounds like a winner. I can see how hard it would have been for Danny when he couldn’t communicate with his grandma at first. Thanks for sharing this one this week.

  2. Susan says:

    This one sounds great! I always like in middle grade books when a person that a character finds annoying becomes a friend. So funny that the grandmother chose the top bunk!

  3. This sounds like a great read and I suspect there are lots of kids who are dealing with grandparents suddenly moving in with their families. This will definitely go on my need to read list.

  4. I am always drawn to intergenerational stories. The fact that his grandmother chooses the top bunk signals she has a lot of spunk. This one sounds unique. And I love it that math and art bring help them find a way to connect. Great review. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mmm. Lychees. I hope you like them. They kind of taste like grapes (and I find them fun to peel!) Thanks for the review. I will have to look this one up!

  6. Sue Heavenrich says:

    This sounds like a fun read – I can totally see grandma peering through the school windows! And I can totally identify with a kid who can’t do (or doesn’t want to do) math.

  7. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like such a sweet story! Seeing how Danny learns to connect with his grandma beyond a language barrier and their differences sounds lovely. The cover is wonderful as well! Thanks so much for the great review!

  8. Being a grandmother, I always enjoy stories that have a grandmother in them. But making a middle-grade boy share a room with his grandmother? Wow. That’s tough on a kid. This sounds like a terrific book. I’m going to have to find a copy. Thanks for telling me about it.

  9. Andrea Mack says:

    This sounds great! I love stories that help me learn a little more about another culture. Communication with other people is difficult enough but adding a language barrier is definitely a huge challenge. I want to read this one!!

Place your thoughts here with a comment

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.