Measuring Up (Paperback)

Measuring Up By Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Lily LaMotte, Ann Xu (Illustrator)
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Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List

“A really cute graphic novel about a girl who moves from Taiwan to Seattle. Cici has a close relationship with her grandmother back home, who taught her how to cook some of her favorite dishes. Cici makes friends but is often subjected to microaggressions from these friends as well as adults. She desperately wants to bring her grandmother for a visit and enters a cooking contest to win the money. What comes out of this contest is both surprising and heartwarming.”
— Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA


An ALA Top 10 Graphic Novel of 2021 · A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection · Fall 2020 Kids Indie Next List · Featured in Today Show’s AAPI Heritage Month List · Amazon Best Books November Selection · Cybils Awards Finalist · An NBC AAPI Selection · Featured in Parents Magazine Book Nook October issue · A CBC Hot off the Press October Selection · WA State Book Awards Finalist · Texas Library Association Little Maverick Selection

For fans of American Born Chinese and Roller Girl, Measuring Up is a don't-miss graphic novel debut from Lily LaMotte and Ann Xu!

“A beautiful story about food, family, and finding your place in the world.” —Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese and Dragon Hoops

“A delicious and heartwarming exploration of identity by a young immigrant trying to find her place in multiple cultures.” —Remy Lai, author of Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.

Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.

And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?

About the Author

Lily LaMotte graduated from Hamline’s writing for children and young adults program with an MFA. When she isn’t writing, she’s cooking up new recipes and supporting her library system as a KCLS Foundation board member. Measuring Up is her debut graphic novel. Visit her at

Ann Xu is an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist and illustrator. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in illustration. Visit Ann at

Praise For…

"An aspiring young chef discovers her innate resourcefulness and the courage of her convictions…Hints of superhero identity lurk throughout this textured graphic novel filled with heart and humor, centering girls with budding ambitions, subverting tropes, and celebrating everyday heroes…Word to the wise: Readers should not pick up this book while hungry unless they have treats nearby such as Taiwanese minced pork over rice, or at least a bubble tea to go with that pineapple cake and zucchini chocolate cookie…Bold and nuanced, this intercultural 'cook book' dishes up hearty morsels well worth savoring." — Kirkus Reviews

“This is a lively graphic novel about a girl finding her way in a new country where her identity is persistently misunderstood…an important reminder of connection between loved ones in cooking as in life…" — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"Cici is a plucky, bighearted protagonist, tackling head-on the many challenges her new circumstances throw at her, such as coping with a steady barrage of microaggressions, trying to fit in, and finding a way to reconcile the demands of American kid-hood with her parents’ hopes and expectations. Bright, full-color illustrations bring the story to life...Purchase wherever feel-good family stories are in demand, and recommend especially to readers who love cooking-filled comics." — School Library Journal

“This sweet, family-oriented graphic novel celebrates cultural traditions and new beginnings in equal measure...First-time author LaMotte brings an obvious love of food and cooking to a positive story that aspiring young chefs will devour. Xu’s manga-influenced full-color illustrations set a gentle tone to this highly appealing story of new beginnings.” — Booklist

“LaMotte’s accessible writing resonates in sketching a diaspora experience and Xu’s simple, inviting illustrations will charm young readers… in LaMotte and Xu’s capable hands, the result is heartwarming fare that will appeal to all.” — Publishers Weekly

“The increasingly suspenseful elimination rounds of the contest give this funny, fast-paced narrative its dramatic arc. And the graphic novel format, featuring Xu’s big-eyed characters, clean lines and simple, playful aesthetic, is a perfect vehicle, allowing readers to see for themselves what Cici’s creative rice dishes look like….The happy ending, meanwhile, is as satisfying as a juicy dumpling.” — New York Times Book Review

“Measuring Up…can be a useful tool for parents and guardians to teach their tweens to honor their cultural heritage and to find the courage to be unique.”  — Mochi Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062973863
ISBN-10: 006297386X
Publisher: HarperAlley
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Pages: 208
Language: English