WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang #CYBILS 📚🎶

2021 picture book winner


by Andrea Wang
illustrated by Jason Chin

Neal Porter Books

Winner – Fiction Picture Book
2021 CYBILS Awards

The Book

Fiction Picture Book
Culture & Tradition, Family, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues

Watercress is a beautiful lyrical story that transports your mind and heart through words and images. It incorporates a universal childhood desire to fit in while at the same time honoring cultural and family memories and traditions. There could not be a more perfect pairing between this raw story and these gentle watercolors. Wang and Chin have both infused this book with personal and authentic pieces of themselves and their heritage. From Wang’s touching story of a child of immigrants to Chin’s melding of western and Chinese watercolor brushes and techniques, this book is an honest look at how we can both love and feel deeply embarrassed of who we are and where we have come from. And whether it is one’s heritage from another country and culture, poverty growing up, or the actions of parents that hauntingly tug at us, many children and adults can connect to these feelings of shame and healing. The illustrations help carry the meaning to an even deeper level and enrich the story. This picture book is stunning, creative, and emotionally touching.

Combined blurb by  Nicole Levesque, Bluestocking Thinking, and the 2021 CYBILS Fiction Picture Books Panel, Round 2


The Music

Watercress is a moving story of how historical and cultural traditions continue to influence the everyday life of a girl and her family. This playlist aims to reflect major historical events illustrated in the picture book while staying true to the beautiful and authentic cultural themes woven throughout the story.

*Jena Chen collaborated with Riya on this playlist.

The Girl

Riya Fernando

Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!