2016 in [Book] Review Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Kingdom of Dusty Earth and Never-Ending Chores for “The Water Princess”

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


It is so exciting going through nonfiction picturebooks published in 2016 – simply because there are so many wonderful ones out there, just waiting to be read by wide-eyed children.


The Water Princess: Based On The Childhood Experience Of Georgie Badiel

Written by: Susan Verde lllustrated by: Peter H. Reynolds Photographs by: Johann Mergenthaler
Published by: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016
ISBN: 0399172580 (ISBN13: 9780399172588)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I am usually not a fan of Peter H. Reynolds trademark typography. Yet this time around, I thought it worked quite well – perhaps because I was also riveted by this childhood story of Georgie Badiel, who apparently is a supermodel, currently living and working in New York City and was Miss Africa in 2004.


I like how in this story, she was portrayed as an ordinary child who sometimes resents doing chores such as waking up so early in the morning to walk all through the desert to get water from the well with her mother.


I especially love the image above as she imperiously commands the water to come all the way to their place through sheer will power. Of course, it doesn’t work. However, while clearly a chore, Georgie managed to show how it could be lightened somewhat by the sunrise, “a handful of sweet shea nuts” and a quick dance with the tall grass.


The Book Creators’ Note in the end was even more compelling as more information is provided about Burkina Faso, the area where Georgie grew up, not having access to clean water – and the initiatives undertaken by Georgie to make a difference in her community through Ryan’s well. The Water Princess has made it her life’s mission to bring clean drinking water right into the heart of her community. To know more, click here to be taken to the Georgie Badiel Foundation Facebook Page.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Kingdom of Dusty Earth and Never-Ending Chores for “The Water Princess”

  1. This sounds like a powerful book. I’m surprised I haven’t read it yet.


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