Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Where the Watermelons Grow

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Where the Watermelons Grow (Harper, 2018) by Cindy Baldwin is such a heartbreaking story, yet filled with hope.

Twelve-year-old Della Kelly’s mama is doing strange things again. Is the sickness that got her hospitalized four years ago back? Della decides she’s going to do everything she can to help her mama get better. But will it be enough?

This was author Cindy Baldwin’s debut–an amazing debut. Since then she’s published three other books. I recommended her Beginner’s Welcome here. See all of her books here and read about Cindy here. You can also read a couple of her short stories here.

I love what Cindy says about the book: “With Where the Watermelons Grow, the story idea arose out of two inspirations: The first was when I was singing the song ‘Down By the Bay‘ to my baby and started wondering what could be the story behind the song. The second was my desire to write a story about a disability that does not end with a magical cure. Although I don’t have schizophrenia, I’m a disabled parent myself, and many of the experiences of the Kelly family were inspired by things my own family went through.”

This novel was a Washington Post KidsPost Summer Book Club Selection, an Indies Introduce and Indie Next title, a Bank Street Best Book of 2019, an AudioFile Earphones Award Winner, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award Honor book.

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5 thoughts on “Where the Watermelons Grow

  1. This sounds like such a beautiful story, Susan! I’ve never seen it before, although I’ve seen a few other books by Baldwin before. It’s so powerful that she drew from her own experience as a disabled parent to craft Della’s mother in this book. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review!

  2. Thanks for bringing this one back into focus. Years ago I had intended to read the story but had too many books ahead of it on my review schedule. I’ll be sure to find the time now. Thanks for being a part of MMGM this week.

  3. This sounds a heart-felt story. I’ve some experience of schizophrenia and it’s not easy for either the sufferer or their family (nothing is, I suppose but it’s a difficult illness that people don’t understand). Thanks for sharing,

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