Posted in Writing Life

Watercress

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Watercress (Holiday House/Neal Porter Books, 2021) by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Jason Chin is such an emotional story.

In Ohio, a little girl’s family stops on their drive and the parents make the girl and her brother help harvest watercress growing in the ditch. She’s embarrassed and doesn’t want anyone to see her. At dinner that night her parents press her to eat it. It’s fresh and free. But she thinks free is bad. “Free is hand-me-down clothes and roadside trash-heap furniture…” When her mom talks about the great famine in China, the girls is ashamed of being ashamed of her family. She tries the watercress and together they make a new memory.

This book is for everyone who hasn’t had enough, and for everyone else who needs to understand what that’s like. The award-winning book received a Caldecott Medal (for illustrations), a Newbery Honor, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a New England Book Award, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor.

Read about the author here and see Andrea’s other books here.

The spread about the great famine in China made me tear up. So much shown in the illustrations.

Jason is not only the illustrator, but he’s an author too. On this page you can read about him and see his titles scroll by on the bottom.

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4 thoughts on “Watercress

  1. I absolutely adore this book and have it on my permanent shelf. It’s so honest and poignant and heart-filled, and the work of both the author and the illustrator is exquisite.

    1. I loved this one too. It dealt with a very specific cultural experience and yet we can all relate being embarrassed of our heritage or our parents. This book is so beautiful. The art and the words worked so well together.

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