In this Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honoree and Kids Indie Next List selection, Andrea Wang relates a childhood experience in touching narrative verse that is at once universal and distinctly personal. Paired with stunningly detailed watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Jason Chin, Wang's story takes root and blooms into nourishing fare.
As the daughter of immigrants, Wang felt like an outsider, often embarrassed by her parents. But when they stop on the side of the road one day to pick weeds from a ditch, Wang is truly mortified. Chin juxtaposes Midwestern Americana with famine-struck China: in the gutter of one double-page spread, cornstalks turn into bamboo, with Wang on the left and an adult and child scrounging for food on the right. The time slips elicit an appreciation for the pain suffered by Wang's family in China and the cultural battle silently taking place in her psyche. Sincere and subtly inspiring, Watercress is transformative. --Jen Forbus, freelancer