Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior -- Book Review & Fun Facts About Water


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Water is essential to life for humans and all living things. Yet the water on Earth is mostly salt water and otherwise undrinkable. Humans have been using the water at record levels as well as polluting the clean water to make it undrinkable. A group of indigenous people are working to protect the water. We shared a book about them a few years ago for Earth Day. Today we are sharing a book about one (well kind of two) of these amazing women. The book is Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Bridget George. It is recommended for ages 4 to 9. To go with this book, I am sharing some fun facts about water to show why we all need to be water warriors as well as some ideas for activities to go with the book.

From the Publisher:

From New York Times bestselling picture book author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George comes Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, an inspiring picture book biography about two Indigenous Rights Activists, Josephine Mandamin and Autumn Peltier.

The seventh generation is creating
A sea of change.

It was a soft voice, at first.
Like a ripple.
But with practice it grew louder.

Indigenous women have long cared for the land and water, which in turn sustains all life on Earth—honoring their ancestors and providing for generations to come. Yet there was a time when their voices and teachings were nearly drowned out, leaving entire communities and environments in danger and without clean water.

But then came Grandma Josephine and her great-niece, Autumn Peltier.

Featuring a foreword from water advocate and Indigenous Rights Activist Autumn Peltier herself, this stunning picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George gives voice to the water and asks young readers to join the tidal wave of change.

From Me:

I love how Carole Lindstrom shares Native American culture while telling the story about the problem and the people fighting for our world. She uses some Anishinaabe words but provides a glossary in the back. The words are simple and easy to follow. It reads like a poem but there is information about the fight as well as about Autumn and what she is doing. I also love how she shares the story of Grandma Josephine in the pages as well. I find it so interesting that women are the water protectors in the Native American culture.

The book encourages the reader to join the water warriors and fight for our water. It shares how important our water is and how we must protect it to protect our world and our lives. 

At the end of the book are pages about Grandma Josephine (Josephine Henrietta Mandamin) and Autumn Peltier. It shares about what they each have done to protect the water as well as fight for indigenous rights. I see this book being used to for Native American Heritage Month or as an introduction to climate change or water cycles. It is a wonderful introduction to native culture as well as the issues with our water. 

Fun Facts About Water

As I said in the introduction, I decided to share some fun facts about water to go with this book. Some of these facts are interesting and others have more that could be done with them. Others are meant to help illustrate why we need to protect our water. 

  1. There is the same amount of water on earth now as there was when the planet was formed. You may be drinking the same water that dinosaurs drank.
  2. Comets are made of mostly water ice. It is possible (and a theory) that comets left some of the water on the planet.
  3. About 97% of the earth's water is salty and/or undrinkable. 71% of the earth is covered by ocean. In a gallon of ocean water on average there is a cup of salt. The salt levels of the oceans vary. The Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific Ocean. 
  4. In a drop of ocean water there are most likely millions of bacteria and viruses as well as possibly fish eggs, plankton, baby crabs, or small worms.
  5. About 68% of the earth's freshwater is locked up in ice and glaciers. This is about 2% of the earth's water. Another 31% of it is in groundwater. 
  6. At any given time about 0.001% of our water is floating around in the atmosphere. If it all fell at once the entire earth would get an inch of rain.
  7. Water is part of a deeply connected system. What we pour into our ground ends up in our water and what we spew into the air/sky will also end up in our water. 
  8. A newborn baby is about 78% water. Adults are about 55-60% water. The human brain is about 75% water. Water plays a big role in our bodies. It is in our blood that supplies nutrients to all of the body's cells. It helps get rid of waste. It helps regulate our temperature and is a shock absorber for our brain and spinal cord. 
  9. A person can live a month without food but only a week without water.
  10. 75% of a living tree is water.
  11. About 6,800 gallons of water is used to grow food for one day for a family of four.
  12. Approximately 400 billion gallons of water are used each day in the United States. 
  13. Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water a day.
  14. Americans use 5.7 billion gallons of water flushing toilets a day.
  15. In the last century, water use has grown more than twice the rate of population increase.
  16. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons in a year.
  17.  The length of a cube that could hold the entire volume of earth's water is estimated to be 1,150 km. 
  18. Unlike most substances, we experience water in all three states: solid, liquid and gas. Most substances change to all the states but the temperatures required for the change cannot sustain our lives.
  19. When water freezes the water molecules form rings and spread apart. This is unusual because most molecules get closer when they freeze. Since water expands by 9% ice is less dense than the water. This is why ice floats in water. It is a good thing otherwise our oceans would be completely frozen.
  20. The freezing point of water lowers as the amount of salt dissolved in it increases. On average seawater freezes at -2°C (28.4°F).
  21. Water likes to stick to itself and other things. This is why it forms droplets. The stickiness is also how plants are able to bring the water up the xylem in their stems. The water is able to stick to the sides of the xylem and to each other to go up the straw like structures. 
  22. Water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid including sulfuric acid.
  23. A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds.
  24. 780 million people lack access to an improved water source. In some countries less than half the population has access to clean water.
  25. Unsafe water kills 200 children every hour.
  26.  In just one day, 200 million work hours are consumed by women collecting water for their families. 40 billion hours each day are spent collecting water in Africa alone.
  27. In Nairobi urban poor pay ten times more for water than people in New York City. 
  28. It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub. The average pool takes 22,000 gallons to fill. 
  29. A water-efficient dishwasher uses 4 gallons of water per cycle. Handwashing dishes takes on average 20 gallons of water.
  30. One third of what the world spends on plastic bottles of water in one year could pay for projects providing water to everyone in need.
As you can see there are many reasons we need water and many people who do not have access to safe water. Besides sharing these facts with children, think about how you can use them. Perhaps helping fund one of the projects to bring water to those in need. Perhaps having them use reusable water bottles. And then 16-23 could be used in math or science problems. I hope you will check out the book and share it with the kids in your life.