02 Jul / A Gift by Yong Chen
Every Chinese New Year, Amy’s mother feels particularly homesick for her family living on the other side of the world in China. This year, a package arrives with a letter that tells the story of a remarkable stone found in Uncle Zhong’s fields, that was taken to Uncle Ming who carved it into something special, who shared it with Aunt Mei who sent the special gift to Amy to celebrate the new year.
Chen cleverly captures the lives of all four siblings by including detailed surroundings – the steam from the rice cooker, a laughing stone Buddha in front of the house, traditional wooden-design windows, calligraphy scrolls both displayed and rolled up. His watercolors that capture the faraway lives of the three Chinese siblings are especially noteworthy, and young Amy seems to glow with her shy smile … but something about the various images of Amy’s mother, especially her blank gaze on the story’s first page, proves a bit disturbing.