How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy; illustrated by Katherine Roy. 2017. Watercolors. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: An infant elephant is born into a loving herd that raises her to adulthood teaching all of the skills an elephant must learn to live.
Comments: Although my description is short, the book is actually quite detailed and covered many facts about elephants I did not know about earlier. The diagrams help explain how the elephant smells, hears, communicates and other skills needed to be an elephant. The author/illustrator went to Kenya to research elephants and her love of them is felt in the beautiful illustrations. This book is a must for all elephant lovers.
The Water Princess by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2016. Watercolor gouache, digital inks.
Brief summary: Gie Gie wakes before dawn by her mother to make the long journey to get water from the river. Gie Gie puts her empty pot on her head and sings along with her mother during their water journey stopping midway to rest under a karite tree and eat some of the shea nuts for energy. They reach the river where they talk and play with other women and girls while waiting in line for their turn to fill the pots. The sun begins to set as they return home where Maman must boil the water first for drinking. They wash clothes and prepare food when Father comes in from the fields. He picks her up and says, “My princess, you have returned with the water.”
Comments: The story is based on the high fashion African model Georgia Badiel’s summers as a girl in Burkina Faso where she gathered water by walking on a four mile journey with other women and girls in the village. Georgia Badiel created a foundation along with Ryan’s Well to focus on bringing clean water to villages by building wells. Girls do not get to go to school, because they must spend all day getting water for their families. This book would be a great lesson to teach our children of how precious water is and to not take it for granted. It may make them appreciate how easily we can get ours by simply turning a knob. I see this book as a Coretta Scott King Book Award contender.