The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Anna’s Ma hasn’t got out of bed for weeks. With her Baba on the other side of town running a restaurant, it’s up to Anna to take care of her family – but she’s falling behind at school, and looking after her siblings by herself is a big responsibility.
So when Ma finally gets up, it looks like everything might go back to normal. Anna starts working at the restaurant, meets a cute boy, and starts to feel like a regular teenager. But Ma’s illness won’t let her rest for long, and Anna begins to realise that while there may not be a magic cure to make her better, love, support, and understanding can go a long way.
Wai Chim depicts Ma’s bipolar disorder, and Anna's own emotional wellbeing, with nuance and sensitivity. Whilst a large part of the story is about Anna and her family's developing understanding of their mother's illness, it also looks at Anna’s own personal journey as a teenage girl navigating difficult topics - such as racism, mental health stigma, and a new relationship - for the first time. A beautiful book, well-suited to older readers.