Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Finally Seen (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023) by Kelly Yang is so so goood!! It’s hard to tell you how much I like it. 😉
Ten-year-old Lina Gao has been living in China with her grandmother, Lao Lao, and finally gets to go live in America with her parents and younger sister who left five years ago. But all is not well in Los Angeles. Things are definitely not what she expected. Like her English being good enough. And her sister in all the family pictures, but none of her. Have her parents even missed her? Plus, Lina feels guilty about leaving Lao Lao behind.
This character and her situation felt so real. I loved seeing how Lina grew and changed and how she changed things around her.
Kelly Yang is an award winning and bestselling author. On her Finally Seen page, she asks kids what books make them feel seen. Check out her books here and scroll to the bottom to read the FAQs.
(Previously I recommended her book Front Desk here.)
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.