Review! Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my American friends! 

Also I get to announce that Amber won the Santa Bruce Prize Pack!! I will be emailing you to ask you where you would like your prize sent to.

Now on to today’s review!

Where the Watermelons Grow
By Cindy Baldwin
256 pages – ages 9+
Published by HarperCollins on July 3, 2018

Synopsis from Publisher- “When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.
With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.
But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.”

What I Thought- This was a fascinating book – it shows a family dealing with a member’s insanity, but in a middle grade context. It was an interesting concept, and one that was executed very well.  It is obvious that Baldwin plotted this story out very carefully. The limited knowledge that Della has about schizophrenia only adds to the intensity of the story. She does not know why her mother is acting the way that she is and Della is frightened even more by her mother’s actions. Della’s lack of knowledge of the disease made the book feel much more emotionally charged, and real. Yet, the opposite is also true: Della new enough about schizophrenia (from her mother’s previous issue) that the book didn’t become some sort of dark despair novel. Baldwin wove an intricate balance of emotion. Kudos to Baldwin for being able to pull it off masterfully. The writing style is appropriate for younger kids, but the topic could be a little tough for some readers. I think this book would be a good read for children who know someone with schizophrenia as it may help them understand how people have dealt with schizophrenics a little, or teach them about the disease. This was one of the heavier middle grade novels I’ve read lately, but it wasn’t too dark. This was an interesting read, and I think people in search of different topics in their reading will enjoy this book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.

Categories: Age 9+

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9 replies

  1. It is good for children to know about these things to help them cope. It was brave of Ms Baldwin to tackle this difficult topic and it sounds like she handled it well.

  2. Sounds a little dark, but Mom just put the sample on her Kindle to check it out.

    Love and licks,

  3. Excellent review. I loved reading Della’s story. It is so important for youth to talk about mental illness, because of the spectrum of issues and the need for family support. The author handled the subject well. Excellent review.

  4. Another amazing review! I shall continue reading these fantastic blogs! Excellent job!


  1. Review! Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin — This Kid Reviews Books | Writing for the Whole Darn Universe

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