The Water Princess by Susan Verde

water-princess-61zdiscxojl__sy498_bo1204203200_The Water Princess: Based on the Childhood Experience of Georgie Badiel

Susan Verde, Author

Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator

G.P Putnam’s Sons, Fiction, Sep. 13, 2016

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Clean water supply, Carrying water, Africa, Georgie Badiel,  Multicultural

Opening: “I am Princess Gie Gie. My kingdom…the African Sky, so wide and so close. I can almost touch the sharp edges of the stars.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is filled with beauty. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village, and despite her commands, 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, and every evening, after the voyage home, 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.

Why I like The Water Princess:

The Water Princess is Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds’ newest jewel. They have created an inspiring story based on the childhood of fashion model Georgie Badiel, who grew up in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  The opening is like a prayer. Princess Gie Gie opens her arms wide and extends them to the expansive African sky. She is the ruler of her own kingdom and she feels powerful. She tames wild dogs with a song, makes the tall grass sway when she dances, and makes the wind play hide-and-seek. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot bring water closer to her village.

Verde’s text is rich and beautifully crafted. The narrative is strong and lyrical. “Water come! Do not make me wake before even the sun is out of bed!” I demand. “Come, please,” I say. It reflects the long journey that she and Maman walk to and from the dirty water hole daily. It is no easy task. The brown water is  boiled for drinking and used to prepare the family’s meal. The rest is used to wash clothing and bathing.

Reynolds’s paintings are breathtaking. They capture the dark purple and gold of the African night sky and Princess Gie Gie’s regal appearance with beads in her braided hair. They highlight the dusty African landscape and deep earth tones. One of my favorite illustrations is a silhouette of the women and children parading single-file to the water hole.

The Water Princess will introduce children to the fact that clean water is not available to people living in other parts of the world. In the story Princess Gie Gie dreams of finding a solution. “Someday…”  And  Georgie Badiel (AKA Princess Gie Gie) never gives up on her dream to bring a well with clean water to her village. Badiel shows kids how one person can make a big difference in their community. With Ryan’s Well, Georgie is working to bring this vital source of life to others in her country. Learn more about the inspiration for the story and the Georgie Badiel Foundation. 

Resources/Activities: The story tackles the issue of global water problems. It is important to read the Author’s Note which is perfect for helping children understand that everyone needs clean water because of the illnesses that are related to contaminated water.  Georgie’s situation can also be compared to clean water problems in America, like Flint, MI.

Join illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, author Susan Verde and collaborator Georgie Badiel for the launch of The Water Princess on Saturday, September 17 at 11 a.m. at Blue Bunny Books in Dedham Square, Massachusetts.  Visit Verde and Reynolds at their websites.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

45 thoughts on “The Water Princess by Susan Verde

  1. Energy is renewable water isn’t. What a wonderful new contribution for children by this team. I can’t wait to read and recommend this.


  2. Pingback: Books to Look out For – Pearlz Dreaming

  3. Potable water is something that most of us are fortunate enough to not have to think of on a daily basis. Such an important topic for both children and adults. I look forward to reading this book. Wonderful review, Pat!


    • And this story is presented to children in such a beautiful way. Princess Gie Gie is a strong character as is Gerogie Badiel. It’s so important for kids to realize they have the power to make change in the world.


  4. I have heard of this book and think it is a wonderful idea. I love everything Susan Verde has done and of course, Peter Reynolds is simply amazing! Another great review, Pat.


    • I love how it shows children that not all children have access to clean water and that it doesn’t come from a faucet. They have to travel miles by foot to collect water. And, it shows them how they can make a difference. The picture book is absolutely beautiful!


  5. One of the experiences that shaped our current lives was visiting El Salvador to see the wells that our friend, Stan Grams, had fundraised to get drilled in our partner community near the lower Lempa river. Seeing the difference in people’s health before and after the wells was amazing. Clean water was one of the greatest gifts anyone could have given to Communidad Octavio Ortiz. And this new book will help us and others learn about the importance of clean water and how just a little money or effort can make a HUGE difference. THANK YOU for lifting up this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a powerful story. It is amazing that you were able to observe the change in people’s health after the clean water pump was installed. I love it when you visit my website because you always have something very interesting to contribute. I know you will enjoy The Water Princess.


  6. I was just trying to explain this to my 8 year old yesterday! It is hard for him to comprehend that clean water isn’t as accessible in other parts of the world like it is here. Reading is one of his favorite past times and I think this book would help him to understand it better than I ever could!


    • It is an exceptional book for kids. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! It is diverse and includes “French” words as the setting is in Burkina Faso, Western Africa. French is spoken there and the book does include words like Maman (mother) and Maintenant (come).


  7. I like books that talk about situations that children and adults should be more educated about. Books can be such a great learning tool.


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