Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Where the Watermelons Grow

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness.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 year...

Details Where the Watermelons Grow

TitleWhere the Watermelons Grow
Release DateJul 3rd, 2018
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Contemporary, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction

Reviews Where the Watermelons Grow

  • Amanda Rawson Hill
    I had the pleasure of reading this book before it got a book deal. It is gorgeous. The words will floor you. They are lyrical and beautiful and packed full of emotion. The feelings are raw and real. An important book. Loved it.
  • K.A.
    Oh my goodness. When I moved away from the Carolina's, what I missed the most was the soft and gentle way of that part of the world. The talk and demeanor of the people, the heat and big old sun that sinks deep into everything and fills you up inside. And this book? That voice? It's all right here.From the beautiful prose, the little sister (a spitfire like ALL OF MINE, but I digress), the family struggling with mental illness (which we do), the ...
  • Leigh Mar
    I'm lucky enough to have read this one already and I can't say enough great things about this story. I read it in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down. It delivered on all the beautiful feels and Della's story stays with you long after you set the book down. It's a perfect bittersweet balance of optimism and acceptance. Add it to your TBR and start your countdowns now, you'll need this one on your shelf when it comes out!
  • Megan C.
    What an amazing middle grade read! Told in a strong southern voice, this story follows 12-year-old Della through the most difficult summer of her life. Her mother is battling paranoid schizophrenia, her family farm is in trouble, and she's left to hold the family together. I thought this book did a wonderful job of humanizing mental illness for the MG reading set. The author does not shy away from the emotional intensity of dealing with the disea...
  • Laurie
    Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 7.0Have you ever felt like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? You have a problem that needs to be fixed and you are the only one who can fix it? This is what Della Kelly is struggling with. Her mom has a disease called schizophrenia. This is a disease that makes her hear other voices in her head and she becomes extremely obsessive about things such as cleaning and the safety of her children. Th...
  • Laura Gardner
    I can count on one hand the number of books in our library that deal with parents who are battling mental illness and yet I know this is a problem that our students face. I am thrilled to be able to put this book on my shelves for the upcoming school year. WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW is a book I won't forget anytime soon and I know it will stay with other readers, as well. Someone out there is going to complain that this book is too heavy and depr...
  • Tracy
    Thanks to the publisher for the free review copy. All opinions are my own. I noticed this morning that WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW is rated #1 in children’s farm life books on Amazon. That description is extremely limiting, but this book is about as southern as southern gets. It reminds me in many ways of THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd. You can almost hear the characters’ slow drawl and feel the hot, sticky air.Della is indeed a 12-y...
  • Emily
    This was a very difficult book for me to read because I have a mother who suffers from mental illness. So of course I personalized everything. All the memories that I had carefully buried and had tried to move past resurfaced and it felt like I was reading with a brick in my stomach. That said, I am happy this book was written and Cindy did a beautiful job capturing what it feels like to live with someone who is suffering from mental illness. I t...
  • Soleil
    So many emotions. This book was one that I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about, but in the end i loved it. The MC is just a 12 (almost 13) year old girl who wants to help her mama. I related so much with many of Della’s emotions and feelings, remembering many things where i felt the same at that age. I tearwd so many times, and would’ve probably cried if there weren’t people nearby. It is bittersweet in its realism, showing that life has its...
  • Melissa Sarno
    This book will break your heart a little and piece it back together, as the best books do. The writing is lush, the setting vivid, and Della's voice shines, shines, shines. I loved it.
  • Jen Petro-Roy
    What a lush, gorgeously written book. Della has such a distinctive voice, and the atmosphere and place in this book is like another character.
  • Adrienne Young
    I just had a feeling that I was going to love this and I was right. The writing is stellar, the story is moving, and the author doesn't shy away from the hard things. All of that coupled with the southern summer setting and I was just really in love with this book! I highly recommend. Definitely pre-order worthy.
  • Zannachan
    Where the Watermelons Grow is Baldwin's debut novel, and it is a beautiful, sweet story about a girl who's mother is suffering from Schizophrenia. With hints of magic realism, the story is a sweet and is as much about family, friendship, and community as it is about mental illness. Baldwin's has an incredible skill with language and characters and I am already looking forward to her next book. I highly recommend this book to others.
  • Stacey Bene
    I loved this book! As an oncology social worker, I could see this book being helpful for pre-teens and teens with a patent with any type of illness. It addressed the themes of self-blame, uncertainty and powerlessness that many children of ill parents experience. I think this is a must for middle school libraries!
  • Cassie Thomas
    Della’s family is far from “normal” but what family isn’t? Della’s mother struggles with a mental illness and Della can’t help but carry guilt for thinking her illness is her fault. This is an amazing story of community, love, family, friendship, and understanding. Della is empowering as a young girl. I can’t wait to share with students next year.
  • Melanie Sumrow
    The prose is lush and languid, easing the reader into the very serious topic of mental illness. Like so many kids, Della wants to “fix” her mom, but the author does a fantastic job of revealing the realities of mental illness with a gentle touch. This is a fantastic book for building empathy and understanding in MG readers.
  • Ginger
    This is a stunning book dealing with a difficult issue. Della Kelly's mother has schizophrenia and she's stopped taking her medicine. Cindy Baldwin deals with mental health in a sensitive way, leading readers to feel compassion for both Della and her family. It was hard to put this book down. I was as immersed in this as I was when I read Bridge to Terabithia for the first time. Highly, highly recommended.
  • Sandy O'Brien
    “... looked out the window over the sink and wished, more than ever, that the sky would just open up and cry all the tears I couldn’t.”12 year old Della watches her mom struggle with sickness while also worrying about if they will lose the farm. How will she handle everything? #BookVoyage
  • London Shah
    I'm not a Contemporary person––give me SFF over all other genres any day. I tried and did not finish six contemporary arcs, when finally I clicked with this little gem. This is such a beautiful debut. 12-year-old Della Kelly, and the way she deals with her mama's illness, will most definitely steal your heart❤😭. The setting is always present and hot and alive. The characters are all so nuanced and realistic. You're going to really adore ...
  • Jamie Pacton
    WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW is the perfect curl-up-and-read-on-a-lightning-bug-filled-summer-night story. It has loads of heart, and it's also funny, sweet, and offers a complex family dynamic that I still think about long after finishing. It deals unflinchingly with a parent's mental illness, and perfectly captures that feeling of being a child and trying to solve grown-up in the South. Also, it made me want eat a lot of watermelon. Consider your...
  • Cindy
    Once I was lucky enough to get an ARC I decided that Where the Watermelons Grow would be my first read for 2018. What a lovely book--filled with real emotion and love, beautiful descriptions, down home dialogue, and (the part that sticks out the most for me) UNRELENTING heat. It reminded me of hot humid summer days, and by the end of the book I, too, was desperate for a good summer rainstorm. I was left with tears in my eyes and a reminder in my ...
  • Russ
    I read one of the very early versions and loved the story from the beginning. The story is well told and deals with real life problems. Not just for those in similar circumstances, but for everyone from all walks of life because we all have things out of our control to figure out how to deal with in our lives. I can't wait to read it again in it's final version.
  • Ben Langhinrichs
    A lot of things are wonderful in 12-year-old Della's life, from her best friend, Arden, to the Bee stories she tells her little sister, Mylie, to the delicious sweet taste of cold watermelon on a hot summer day. But when she discovers that her mother's sickness might be coming back, a sickness that confuses her mother about what is real and what is not, Della decides she has to do something about it.But decisions are easier decided on than acted ...
  • Shan Salter
    @kidlitexchange #partner #bookstagram #kidlitexchange #kidlit Where The Watermelons Grow By Cindy Baldwin Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.Where The Watermelons Grow takes us on a journey with twelve-year-old, North Carolina girl, Della Kelly who tiptoes from her bed one steamy summer night only to discover her mother hearing voices that aren’t there. As the days progress, Della wat...
  • Emily
    After a quiet period, 12-yr-old (I think?) Della's mom's mental illness is rearing its head again. Della witnesses scenes: coming home to find her mother obsessed with the idea that watermelon seeds will poison her daughters, attacking a watermelon with singlemindedness, oblivious to a seed stuck to her forehead; coming home to find that her toddler sister has been crying in her crib ignored for hours, her diaper more than full; observing her mom...
  • Jenny Chou
    From taking care of her rascally little sister to helping run the family’s farm stand, twelve-year-old Della already has more responsibility than most kids her age. When she discovers her mama digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and mumbling about keeping her girls safe, Della knows the schizophrenia that dragged her mother to the hospital years earlier is back. Are the rumors of a magic honey from the Bee Lady that...
  • Bridgette
    A thoughtful, heartfelt, and at time, heartbreaking, look at a young girl growing up with a mother who has schizophrenia. Della is a well rounded character who wants to help her mom, to fix her, and spends the novel trying to devise ways of fixing her mama to make her normal. Ultimately, she realizes she can't do this, but she can keep loving her mama. There are are some really great moments in this--from Della's believe that she caused the illne...