White Water Book Review

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today I get the pleasure of reviewing White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by Shadra Strickland. This story was inspired by a true story and although it is about Segregation it is a story to which  most people can relate.

I mean who hasn't wanted to try something after being told they could not. You know the kind of temptation it is. Your mind cannot get off the forbidden thing. What would it be like, what will it taste like, etc.? This story is about a young black boy who gives in to this type of temptation. After a long, hot bus trip into town with his grandmother, the young boy rushes to the water fountain for a drink. The water is hot and gross.  He does not take as long of a drink as he planned. However the white boy that got off the bus as well takes a nice long drink from the white only fountain. The black boy begins to wonder if the white only water is cold and better tasting. The thought of that water takes over his life. He is so focused on it he cannot focus at school or anywhere. He finally decides to sneak off and taste the white only water. When he gets caught he goes down on the ground and for the first time realizes the same pipe feeds both fountains. The white only water is the exact same water as the colored water fountain. At this moment he has an epiphany. 
Source: Candlewick Press

 The story shares a piece of history that many of us avoid talking about as well as the realization that sometimes there is no difference between something you can do and what you have been forbidden to do. The story is told in a way that you can place yourself in the situation. Even as a white woman I can imagine wanting to try the water I was told I could not. Is it different? Then there is the realization that even though the two fountains are segregated the water comes from the same source. It is not different for either group. So perhaps there is not a difference between the groups except the made up rules by one group. Such a powerful message in a way that is easy to understand. It also shows that is all right to question things. It is good to explore and find the answers you seek.

The book is wonderful. The pictures are beautiful and fit the time period. It shares a piece of the United States history in a point of view of a child living through that time. It was inspired by Michael Bandy's own experience and his sneaking off to try the white only water fountain. Hazel and I both enjoyed this book and I really found it powerful. I highly recommend this book!

For more posts about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement check out:

 Picture of Hazel at water fountain from this post.