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The Water Princess by Susan Verde (A Book Review)

The Water Princess by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 40
Age Range: 5 – 8 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3 and up
Available for Sale: September 13, 2016

Based on supermodel Georgie Badiel’s childhood, a young girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village.

With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.

Inspired by the childhood of African–born model Georgie Badiel, acclaimed author Susan Verde and award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have come together to tell this moving story. As a child in Burkina Faso, Georgie and the other girls in her village had to walk for miles each day to collect water. This vibrant, engaging picture book sheds light on this struggle that continues all over the world today, instilling hope for a future when all children will have access to clean drinking water.

Try to imagine what your life would be like without clean water. It’s hard isn’t it? I don’t even think twice about going to the kitchen and putting my glass up to the refrigerator to get water when I’m thirsty. I know when I’m ready to shower or brush my teeth all I have to do is turn on the faucet and out comes the water.

Now try to imagine having to walk on average four miles each day (which is the equivalent of about 70 football fields) just to collect water. Yes, I said 70 football fields! That’s what life is like for nearly one billion people around the world. That’s 1 out of every 6 people who don’t have access to clean water…yikes! It’s heartbreaking for me to hear statistics like this because it’s unbelievable that in 2016 this is STILL an issue.

This beautifully written and illustrated book is inspired by Georgie Badiel’s childhood and her wish that water would come to her and those in her community. Georgie is a model, activist and author from Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in West Africa. As a young girl, she and her mom used to walk miles just to get dusty earth-colored water carrying bowls on their heads. It’s a very touching and moving story that not only educates children about a serious and ongoing issue, but also shows them how they can make a difference.

Although I read this book with the kids, I think they may still be a bit too young to truly grasp the fact that water isn’t readily available for everyone around the world.  I plan to read this with them again when they’re a bit older so it really hits home.  I think the illustrations are absolutely stunning and the overall story is well written.  The author’s note explains a little more about the ongoing water crisis and let’s you know how you can get involved if you want to help.  There are also pictures of the girls and women from Georgie Badiel’s grandmother’s village in Burkina Faso collecting water and pictures from a celebration where a new well was built in partnership with Ryan’s Well.

After reading this book I immediately inquired about how I can give a donation to the people of Burkina Faso and the Georgie Badiel Foundation. I don’t say that to boast and brag, I’m saying it because it’s true. I hope this book inspires you and your little readers to do the same.  Well done to an amazing project team: Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolods and Georgie Badiel…I am truly inspired to do my part and help make a change!

For more information about what we can all do to make a difference visit Ryan’s Well or The Georgie Badiel Foundation.  You can order the book here!

Your turn:  Are you looking forward to checking this book out?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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