So many questions come to mind during and after reading The Water Princess. Some are: How do the women get any work done in the village? Who cares for any children unable to go to the watering hole? Who fixes meals for the men who are working?
Then my thoughts turn to, “What a story.” This is the journey of some women and children every day. They travel unbelievable amounts of miles to get only a few gourds of water to cook, clean and bathe in. This is not something people did “once upon a time” in a land “faraway” or in some dystopian land of fiction. This is happening today.
But thankfully, one young woman is giving back to her people. Susan Verde based her picture book on Georgie Badiel’s life. Everyone should read The Water Princess. Not because Badiel is a famous model, but because this is something that could easily affect anyone. This is not an “African” issue, but a human issue. Clean water is something we take for granted. And especially currently, could we imagine not being able to wash?
The story, despite the tragic nature of why they must, this is a sweet story about a young girl and her hopes and dreams. She still finds ways to be a child, while having to take on the adult task of water gathering with her mother. And Peter H. Reynolds created equally sweet illustrations to help curve the intense sadness. He shows these people in a realistic but fun way as well. He shows the hope and dark. The colors fit the world perfectly. Classically Reynolds, these illustrations are a delight to view.
And afterwards tie everything together with Georgie Badiel’s experiences, actions and the situation as a whole.