Picture of author.

Andrea Wang

Author of Watercress

14 Works 1,002 Members 95 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: photo by Elaine Freitas Photography

Works by Andrea Wang


2022 (14) Asian (15) Asian American (27) biography (21) Caldecott (25) Caldecott Medal (13) children's (13) China (31) Chinese (8) Chinese Americans (32) Chinese culture (7) Chinese New Year (10) cooking (9) culture (19) diversity (18) family (64) family history (10) famine (12) fiction (15) food (66) heritage (9) history (15) immigrants (34) immigration (18) inventions (7) Japan (19) memories (10) memory (10) Newbery Honor (16) non-fiction (20) noodles (8) Ohio (11) picture book (106) poverty (9) ramen (10) sharing (11) tea (9) to-read (21) watercress (13) WWII (7)

Common Knowledge



Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience (SCCWEE or "Squee"): a two-week program in the Boston area for day and overnight campers (through rising eighth graders).

Phoenix (Phoenny) Fang is over-the-moon excited for her last summer of camp, especially because her group of school friends broke apart and reformed - without her - over the past year, whereas her camp "squad" is still tight. But when Phoenny gets to camp, she learns that the squad has been broken up because a new group of campers in their age group are attending this year. The new girls turn out to be transracial adoptees - some of whom are enthusiastic about camp, some of whom are resentful - and there are some bumps and a learning curve before the two groups become friends. There is another conflict in the form of threats toward the camp's account on social media, which the kids, CITs, and counselors plan to counteract with joyful, positive experiences. There is plenty of constructive dialogue and good communication as everyone at Squee learns "we are not a monolith" - there are all kinds of ways to be Asian and Asian-American. Phoenny also develops a crush on new guy Harrison, who likes her back, but because of rules against camper/staff relationships, they wait to act on their feelings until after camp.


"I wish I could express my anger like you do, Phee," Lina says. "Sometimes I think things only change when someone gets mad about them." (35)

"Lasting change in a series of compromises." --Jane Goodall (35)

"That's the complicated part, Phee. I personally don't feel a huge connection to China even though I was born there. My parents also didn't do a lot of cultural stuff, so when people meet me and assume I should know things or feel connected based on the way I look, it can make me feel bad about myself." (Gemma, 90)

What would it be like to not have any of that when everyone assumes you do? (90)

"Joy is an act of resistance." --Toi Derricotte (160)

While I don't always like how she acts or what she says, I do admire McKenna for always making it clear when she's unhappy or disappointed. If you speak up, you can get support... (183)

"You were brave to go off-script like that. To refuse to do something you weren't comfortable with." (214)
… (more)
JennyArch | 1 other review | Apr 8, 2024 |
After surviving the loneliness of seventh grade, Phoenix can’t wait to be with her favorite people in her happy place just one last time, before she’s too old.

SCCWEE, or Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience, is Phoenny’s sanctuary. She loves all the fun camp traditions and the heritage classes, like Chinese rice dough sculpting and ribbon dancing. But her plans for a perfect time are interrupted by the arrival of new girls who don’t share her positive attitude toward camp and Chinese culture, which leaves Phoenny feeling confused and threatened. Plus, she’s competing with one of them for the attention of the same boy. Thankfully, Phoenny has her passion for sewing clothes to help her deal with the stress. Once she learns that the new girls are transracial adoptees from white families and face their own unique set of challenges, Phoenny opens up, and a virtuous cycle of vulnerability, empathy, and acceptance ensues. When trolls post racist comments on the camp’s social media, the campers use their joyful creativity to resist the fear and hate. Through careful research and interviews, Wang has crafted a narrative that reflects many transracial adoptees’ feelings and experiences. The believable dialogue questions and explores deeply held beliefs about culture. Phoenny’s lovingly detailed, introspective viewpoint will positively influence readers’ awareness of their own emotional and cultural landscapes.

Blending moxie and grace, this novel is a worthy guide through cultural expansiveness and summer camp antics and angst. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-13)

-Kirkus Review
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CDJLibrary | 1 other review | Apr 4, 2024 |
Gr 4–7—Meilan's extended family's recent fracturing causes her, her parents, and her grandfather to move to the
small town of Rosebud. She attempts to adopt different personalities inspired by the other meanings of her name to
adapt to her new environment. This timely middle grade novel about embracing identity regardless of approval and
standing up for oneself is a must-read.
BackstoryBooks | 1 other review | Apr 1, 2024 |
PreS-Gr 3—Simple text and serene illustrations pack a strong emotional punch in this picture book. A tightly woven
piece of story and watercolor art is exemplified in one spread, where the cornfields of Ohio become the faminestricken land of China. Who leaves a homeland, and at what cost?
BackstoryBooks | 70 other reviews | Apr 1, 2024 |



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½ 4.4

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