The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling (Paperback)

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling By Wai Chim Cover Image
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An authentic novel about growing up in an Asian immigrant family with a mother who is suffering from a debilitating mental illness.

Anna Chiu has her hands full. When she's not looking after her brother and sister or helping out at her father's restaurant, she's taking care of her mother, whose debilitating mental illness keeps her in bed most days. Her father's new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren't right at home, she's starting to feel like she could be a normal teen.

But when her mother finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as her mother's condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling is a heart-wrenching, true-to-life exploration through the often neglected crevices of culture, mental illness, and family. Its strong themes are balanced by a beautiful romance making it a feel-good, yet important read.

About the Author

Wai Chim is a first-generation Chinese-American from New York City. Growing up speaking Cantonese around the house, she absorbed as much Western culture as she could through books, TV, and school. She spent some time living in Japan before making Sydney, Australia, her permanent home. In addition to her writing, Wai works as a digital producer/web developer for The Starlight Children's Foundation, whose programs offer entertainment, education, and technology to critically, chronically, and terminally ill children. Learn more about her at

Praise For…

Praise for The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling:

"Heart-wrenching... The novel provides an insightful look at the powerful role food plays in our emotional lives." — The New York Times Book Review

* "Gritty details lend depth to this viscerally powerful tale of a teen struggling to help her troubled family." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"[R]efreshingly measured in its resolution... believable optimism readers can accept, and they'll be glad to see Anna's better way forward." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This is a book with a huge heartbeat and so much love infused in every page. The stoic resilience of the Chiu family is inspiring." — Alice Pung, award-winning author of Lucy and Linh

"A heartwarming tale of family, food, and first love that captures the pain and confusion of grappling with a parent's mental illness. Wai Chim will make you cry both happy and sad tears." — Justine Larbalestier, author of My Sister Rosa

"I adored this heartfelt story. Wai Chim has employed a deeply immersive storytelling style to explore the unspoken truths within families, trust, cross-cultural relationships, first love, and forgiveness with sophistication and unfailing empathy." — Leanne Hall, author of Iris and the Tiger

Product Details
ISBN: 9781338756319
ISBN-10: 1338756311
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English