Shanghai Messenger

By Washington Post

‘Xiao Mei,’ Nai Nai says, ‘Uncle invites you to China this summer.’ Nai Nai is Grandma, and Xiao Mei is an 11-year-old girl, “half Chinese, half not,” who is understandably anxious about traveling alone all the way from Ohio to Shanghai to meet her “big family.” This beautiful book recounts the ups and downs of her trip – strangeness, kindness, foods both familiar and exotic, old gardens and towering modern building, a school, a market, new words, aunties, uncles and cousins – in blank verse so smooth it doesn’t feel like verse at all. And Ed Young’s delicate, lovingly detailed drawings capture every step of the journey from shyness to elation: “I want to stay in Shanghai forever,” Xiao Mei concludes.