By Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by Ed Young
"You are my messenger. Look everything. Remember." Grandma Nai Nai tells eleven-year-old Xiao Mei as the girl heads off to Shanghai, China, to visit their extended family. Xiao Mei is both excited and apprehensive. She will meet many new relatives, but will they accept her, a girl from America who is only half Chinese?
Xiao Mei is eagerly embraced by her aunties, uncles and cousins and quickly immersed in the sights, smells and hubbub of daily living in Shanghai. At first battling homesickness, Xiao Mei soon ventures on her own, discovering the excitement of a different way of life and a new appreciation of her Chinese heritage. When it is finally time to leave, Xiao Mei must gather up her memories and bring "a little bit of China" back home.
Ed Young's exquisite drawings touchingly highlight Andrea Cheng's lyrical story of adventure, self-discovery, and the strong bonds that tie families together.
Booktalk with illustrator Ed Young
Video Interview with illustrator Ed Young
2005 Junior Library Guild Selection
Original Art Show
Society of Illustrators
Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College Children's Book Committee
A Parent's Choice
Recommended Award Winner
Parents' Choice Foundation
- Interest Level
- Grades 3 - 7
- Reading Level
- Grade 4
- Asian/Asian American Interest, Biracial Interest, Cultural diversity, Family Traditions, Grandparents, Self Esteem/Identity, Middle Grade
Andrea Cheng is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her works range from picture books to young adult novels, and her stories often draw on the experiences of her Hungarian relatives or her husband’s Chinese family. When not writing books, Cheng teaches English as a Second Language at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Cheng and her husband have three grown children. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find her online at www.andreacheng.com.
Ed Young is one of the most versatile and highly honored illustrators of children's books today. He has won numerous awards for his illustrations, including the Caldecott Medal in 1990 and Caldecott Honors in 1993 and 1989. A native of Shanghai, China, Young now lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, with his wife and their children.