Where the Watermelons Grow — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” 

~ Henry Ford ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Need to create some suspense or tension? Well, yes, of course we all do. Tiffany Yates Martin has a guest post HERE at Writers in the Storm that will help you out.

I’ve heard it said that editors are always looking for reasons to reject a manuscript. Well, I say let’s not give them reasons. The post HERE from the Institute for Writers has a list of things that make editors cringe.

A guest post HERE on Writers Helping Writers (ALWAYS a great site) will help you understand how theme impacts your story and can help make it better.

I have been giving away books on almost every blog post for the last couple years. I am going to make a change to that soon. I will continue to give away paperbacks and ARCs that I review, but I have made the decision to start donating any hardback MG novels I receive to my granddaughter’s charter school library. They have so little money to spend on books and kids books are no longer much less expensive than adult books. The school has a total of $800 a year to spend on books for grades 7-12. That means they probably can’t buy more than 50 books a year. Of course, that would presume they never replace their encyclopedias or dictionaries or other reference materials, and I don’t think that’s the case. Anyway, my donations will make a real difference for them, so that’s what I have decided. I will still review the hardbacks I get, but I won’t be giving those away. Thanks for understanding.

Last week, I offered a paperback of 1001+ Fantastic Facts about Animals by Clare Hibbert. The winner this week is Completely Full Bookshelf. Congratulations! I have no idea about the person behind the blog. There is no personal information on the blog,  but I read it regularly because he/she posts really good reviews of MG books. You can check it out HERE. Completely Full Bookshelf, I will get your book out to you soon. For the rest of you, I do have a review and giveaway this week, so please keep reading.

WhereWatermelonsGrow-coverI am always keeping my eye out for compelling MG books, and when I got a chance to grab a copy of Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin, I did. I had heard a lot about it, and now I know why. It is such a good book. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review.

Della is twelve, and the night she finds her mother in the kitchen madly removing seeds from watermelon slices, muttering about how the seeds might harm her children, Della knows her mother is getting sick again. Schizophrenia has been a part of her mother’s life since Della was born, and Della has come to believe she is the cause. That is a heavy burden to bear. Della’s baby sister, Mylie, is a pistol and needs lots of care and attention. Maybe if Della can take that care over, Mama can rest and get better. Della’s daddy seems almost as lost as Della in how to help. Surrounded by good neighbors in this small town offering to help, Della’s frustration grows as Mama’s illness spirals out of control. Even the Bee Lady, who can fix anything, it seems, cannot help.

Cindy Baldwin
Cindy Baldwin

Author Cindy Baldwin has tackled a tough subject in this superbly written book. The characters are finely drawn and well-rounded, the story is believable and important, and the writing is gorgeous and lyrical. This is a book that deserves wide readership well beyond the middle-grade audience for which it was intended. Do not miss this book.

I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

10 thoughts on “Where the Watermelons Grow — Review & Giveaway”

  1. I, too, heard great things about this book. What a topic to tackle! Thanks for sharing the review. Now, I just have to read this one.


  2. I think it’s a great idea to donate books to your granddaughters school! I’ll pass on this book, but it sounds terrific.


  3. I’m delighted you loved this book as much as I did! We need to talk about mental health issues. It belongs in schools. I don’t do many book giveaways like I used to because I donate them to our Children’s Hospital and schools I know are in need.


  4. I also donate most of my books to schools and public libraries. I do keep a few to reread for myself… A great group of links today. It reminds me how many elements there are to completing a great story. Your featured review today is on a book I’ve been hearing a lot about. Sounds like a good companion to SOMEONE ELSE’S SHOES, my MMGM review for this week. I now have WHERE THE WATERMELON GROWS at the top of my TBR list.


  5. I read this book in July and enjoyed it very much. It contains a character who goes through so much with mental illness and it’s impacts on family and friendships. I haven’t found another more honest and emotional book in middle grade as this one on mental illness.


  6. Hi, Rosi ~ Thanks for posting about this book. It deals with an important subject which will help young readers to understand mental health. I recently won a book from your blog, but I did want you to know I enjoyed this post. As a former teacher, I applaud you for donating your books to your granddaughter’s school. There are never enough funds to buy enough good books for a school library!


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