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Water: The Stuff of Life

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Greetings, parents and caregivers of young children! This month I've decided to highlight UN’s World Water Day. If you've never heard of it, don't worry because I hadn't either before deciding on this topic. If you're starved for time and aren't able to visit the website, I'll give you a synopsis: World Water Day is "about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water."

Dirty water isn't something I think an awful lot about. I turn a faucet, clean water comes out, I drink it, use it to cook or bathe, watch it go down the pipe, and that's the end of it. But water has a much more complicated story than that. Where does water come from? Where does it go? How do people living in rain-starved portions of the world actually get water? Is there anything I can do to help? What happens if water gets dirty? Can it be made clean again? How can I be mindful of the water I’m using?

I've selected some of the books below to help answer these questions and others simply because they contain water and are so much fun to share. I hope you'll find one (or more!) that you and your little ones love. Enjoy learning, growing, and wondering alongside the kiddos in your lives and until next time, keep reading together!

Water Can Be... by Laura Purdie Salas (illustrated by Violeta Dabija)

This book has always made me smile and I'm so glad I finally found a roundup in which it could be shared. It's a high-quality rhymer (which is hard to find) and its lulling refrains (Water is water--its fog, frost and sea. When autumn comes chasing, water can be...a cloud fluffer, fire snuffer, school drinker, bruise shrinker, salmon highway, eagle flyway...) are packed with lots of heart and opportunities for learning. I love the appendix in the back which includes further information for each verse in the poem.

Bob Has a Blue Thumb by Ariel McAffery, Ava McAffery and Katie Prior

Bob is a charming hedgehog with a taste for pie. He's also concerned about keeping our creeks and streams clean, and this book does a great job helping kids to earn their "blue thumbs" by learning all about watersheds and their care. Ariel, Ava, and Katie visited our library in 2015 and did a masterful job engaging kiddos and demonstrating ways to stop polluting our water. My son got to try on waders and listen to the authors read this book. He gives this book two blue thumbs up!

The Water Princess by Susan Verde and Georgie Badiel (illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds)

Based on the childhood of fashion model Georgie Badiel, this book details the miles-long trek that thousands of young girls in Burkina Faso (and all across Africa) make to gather water every day. This journey can often be arduous, monotonous, and dangerous. Their journeys are great reminders how precious water can be and can inspire parents, caregivers, and kiddos to consider its worth when using it in their own homes.

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Cloudette loves being small. She always wins at hide-and-seek, people call her delightful little nicknames, and she can always find the perfect spot to watch fireworks. But there are some things Cloudette finds a little difficult, like causing deluges and thundering. With a little encouragement, some patience, and a lot of determination, Cloudette will soon find out that even little clouds can do really big things!

These Seas Count by Alison Formento (illustrated by Sarah Snow)

While this book does contain a few simple sections of counting from 1-10, the title is actually a double entendre intended to communicate that the seas matter. When Mr. Tate's class visits Sunnyside Beach, they discover it needs help. Litter is strewn everywhere and some of the creatures are affected by the mess. After some explanation from Captain Ned, the class gets to work cleaning up the beach and transforms it from a trash heap to a sandy playground.

Wave by Suzy Lee

When a curious little girl meets a playful wave on the beach, silliness ensues as the two new friends play games with each other. This is a quirky wordless picture book that will give parents and caregivers opportunities to talk about tides, waves, intertidal zones, and tide pool creatures.

The Ocean Story by John Seven (illustrated by Jana Christy)

"Why is the ocean so big?" asks the boy. "It needs to be big to hold a story so old," answers the father. As the father tells the story, he touches on subjects like the water cycle, storms, conservation, marine biology, and pollution. The soft, warm illustrations are incredible and the text is simple, yet robust enough to keep children and adults engaged.

Breathe by Scott Magoon

This marine take on a timeless thought—to sometimes just be...and breathe—carries readers into the daily life of a young whale as he asserts his independence while playing, growing, and learning. At the end of the busy day, the little whale gets a reminder to love, sleep, dream, and breathe after returning home to Mama.

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon (illustrated by Katherine Tillotson)

From its opening line, all the water in the world is all the water in the world, this book helps readers to understand where water comes from and how people can take simple steps to conserve it since it's all we've got. This book touches on many of the same subjects as The Ocean Story, but is a quicker read for young kiddos.

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