Picture Book Review – Watercress
Written by Andrea Wang
Illustrated by Jason Chin
(Neal Porter Books; $18.99, Ages 4-8)
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
★Starred Reviews – BookPage, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness
Andrea Wang and Jason Chin’s new picture book, Watercress, tells a story with that one word alone. This vegetable embodies a family’s experiences from the great famine years until today in the US. Wang’s spare, lyrical text shows us the range of emotions felt by the girl whose parents excitedly stop to pick watercress from the side of the road, much to the girl’s chagrin. Her feelings brew throughout the story until painful memories shared bring about an understanding.
Fans of Jason Chin’s gorgeous watercolor images will not be disappointed. The family’s many dimensions come alive on the page, reflecting today’s struggles and those long ago.
This book is relatable to people from immigrant families as myself, or any kid who’s been embarrassed by some things their family does—and who hasn’t?! Watercress is top-notch for its ability to convey a world of information and a wide range of moods.
The text and illustrations are flawless. There’s even a secret book cover image once the paper cover is removed. The accolades for Watercress are merited. It is definitely one of my top 2021 picks.
Click here for an educator’s guide.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2021 (asianpacificheritage.gov)
- Reviewed by Christine Van Zandt (www.ChristineVanZandt.com),
Write for Success (www.Write-for-Success.com), @ChristineVZ and @WFSediting,