is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FRONT DESK series ("One of the 30 Most Influential Children's Books Of All Time" -BookRiot), including FRONT DESK, THREE KEYS, and ROOM TO DREAM, KEY PLAYER, and TOP STORY, FINALLY HEARD, FINALLY SEEN, NEW FROM HERE, YES WE WILL, and young adult novels PARACHUTES and PRIVATE LABEL. FRONT DESK is Kelly's award-winning middle grade debut novel about a 10 year old Chinese American immigrant girl who manages the front desk of a motel while her parents clean the rooms. FRONT DESK was awarded the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, the Parents' Choice Gold Medal, was the 2019 Global Read Aloud, and was named an Amazon Best Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a NPR Best Book of the Year, and a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year.

Kelly immigrated to America when she was 6 years old and grew up in Southern California, where she and her parents worked in three different motels. She overcame poverty to go to college at the age of 13 and law school at the age of 17. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science, and Harvard Law School. After law school, she gave up law to pursue her passion of writing and teaching children writing. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project (, a leading writing and debating program for kids in Asia. As a writing teacher for 13 years, Kelly helped thousands of children find their voice and become better writers and more powerful speakers. Before turning to fiction, she was also a columnist for the South China Morning Post for many years. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She is the Honorary Chair of the American Library Association for National Library Week. She lives with her husband, three children and two dogs in Los Angeles. 

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To Request A School Visit:

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I love motivating and inspiring young writers and sharing my journey and writing tips with students! Teachers say that my virtual talks with their students are extraordinary! If you would like to book a visit with me, please contact Lisa at I am so excited to speak to your community!


Why did you become an author?

I became an author because I love telling stories. Ever since I was a little girl, I've always LOVED telling stories. I tell all kinds of stories -- stories about immigrant girls, loan sharks, wealth, privilege, motels, first love, relationships, family, trauma, poverty, and race. The thing that all my stories have in common is they are moving, authentic, and filled with diverse characters.

How much of what happened in Front Desk was real?

Front Desk was inspired by my childhood but is a work of fiction. I would say that it is about 60% real and 40% made up.

Is it true that you went to college at 13?

Yes and it was an incredibly traumatic experience (because academically you're one age, but emotionally you're a totally different age, and of course everyone around you is so much older) so I wouldn't recommend it!

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FINALLY HEARD Tour — Get Tickets Here

I’m going on tour for FINALLY HEARD! Come hear me talk to kids about the dangers of social media and how it impacts their brains! Catch me in Somerville, Brooklyn, LA, San Leadro, and Menlo Park! RSVP: Tuesday, February 27th – Somerville, MA 6:00PM Somerville Theatre Books sold by Belmont Books TICKETED: Event page  Wednesday,…

TOP STORY Tour — Get Tickets Here

I’m going on tour for TOP STORY! Catch me in LA (Pasadena) and the Bay Area (Petaluma, CA)! RSVP: LA — Pasadena (Ticketed Event): Bay Area — Petaluma:


I’m going on tour for FINALLY SEEN! Catch me in DC, PA, NYC, Boston, SF, and Seattle! RSVP Links: DC:… PA:… NYC:… Boston:… SF:… Seattle:

KEY PLAYER Kirkus Starred Review!


YES WE WILL on NYC Billboard!


Publisher’s Weekly Discusses Kelly Yang’s Pandemic Essay Writing Contest

New York Times Review of NEW FROM HERE

NEW FROM HERE Debuts at #1 on the NYT Bestseller List

FRONT DESK shortlisted for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2022!


Parachutes in Betches

Parachutes in Oprah Magazine

Parachutes in Girls Life

Parachutes in New York Times – Kelly Yang Takes a Sledgehammer to Rape Culture

Parachutes in NBC: New YA novel about teens, racism and rape culture finds resonance amid pandemic

How Harvard Law School Came After Me For Speaking Up About My Sexual Assault

BuzzFeed calls Parachutes “A Gut Punch of a Debut”

Parachutes Named an Indie Next List Summer 2020 Title

Parachutes Named a Publisher’s Weekly Best Summer Read 2020

Parachutes 15 Fav YA Books of 2020

Parachutes in Book & Film Globe

TeenVogue calls Parachutes a Must Read

Parachutes in Elle Magazine

Parachutes in BuzzFeed’s Recommended Spring YA Books

Parachutes in Parents Magazine

Parachutes in NBCNews Recommended APAHM Books

Parachutes on NPR

Parachutes a Book Riot 10 best YA Release

Parachutes a United by Pop Must Read YA

Parachutes in Culturess’s 15 Must Read YAs

Parachutes Interview in Publisher’s Weekly

BookPage 16 women to watch in 2020

Parachutes Review in Nerdy Daily

Parachutes Review in Asian Review of Books

Parachutes Starred Review in ALA Booklist

Parachutes Starred Review in School Library Journal

Parachutes Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly

Parachutes Interview in Horn Book

Parachutes on Pat Thurston Live Radio

Parachutes To Be Published in the UK by Harper360

Front Desk Hits New York Times Best Seller List

Front Desk Receives Asian Pacific American Award for Literature

Three Keys, Sequel to Front Desk, to be Published by Scholastic in Sept 2020


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Publicist for the FRONT DESK series: Seale Ballenger:
Publicist for NEW FROM HERE:
Publicist for YES WE WILL: Kaitlin Kneafsey:
Publicist for my YA novels: HarperCollins:
Copyright Kelly Yang 2019
PARACUTES Art © Chung-Yun Yoo.