What if you had to walk four miles (70 football fields) every day to get water? That’s the surprising focus of The Water Princess, by Susan Verde. Her book focuses on a little girl in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, where almost a quarter of the population does not have access to clean water.
The story shows how women and girls journey each morning to fill pots with water for cooking, bathing, and drinking because they don’t have any at home. Children do not go to school because of this time-consuming task.
The picture book goes through the walk to water, each step of the way. The author writes in a playful way that really grasps the view of a child. The book is the true story of Georgie Badíel, who is now a Burkinabé model. But as a child, she wished that water would come to her so she didn’t have to make the long walks every day. As an adult, she advocates for clean water in her community.
The book describes Georgie willing the water to come closer to her, yet it does not. She explains how they stop for shea nuts when they are halfway to the water, and Georgie plays with friends while her mother waits in line to get water.
I liked the illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds a lot, sometimes I would linger on pages just to fully appreciate the beauty of them. This story made me really aware of what was happening in Africa, I had orginally thought that long walks to water were well in the past, but based on UNICEF’s report in 2022, 418 million people on the continent are still without water. You can donate to Georgie Badíel Foundation, an organization aiming to provide clean water and sanitation to Burkina Faso.
I recommend this book to kids ages six to 10. I think that they may understand the theme of the book, which was to stay hopeful and optimistic, even when things are tough.
Four out of four roses!