Published September 13th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Formart read: Finished copy
With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, 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. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, 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.
Inspired by the childhood of Burkina Faso-born model Georgie Badiel, The Water Princess brings together the exceptional talents of Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds in this stunning picture book.
Verde (in conjunction with Georgie Badiel), shares the tale of Princess Gie Gie, who has to make the long trek from her village to get water every single day. Verde paints a melodic, wistful picture of Gie Gie's journey, and the young girl's continued dream for the day that she won't have to make her trip.
In a few short words, Verde beautifully summarizes not only the fictionalized version of model Georgie Badiel's childhood experiences, but also details a serious and ongoing problem for so many parts of the world. Verde elegantly dissects the struggles involved with the continued lack of water access, and how that lack can impact so many young lives.
Verde makes it a point of using short sentences and simple word choices, which goes beautifully hand-in-hand with illustrator Peter H. Reynolds's gorgeous, two-page spreads. The length of the sentences words help emphasize the scope of Princess Gigi's journey, and how much is put into traversing the land for a needed necessity. Readers will be moved by the visual representation of that journey, regardless of age.
Bottom line: This is a gorgeous, stunning book that also manages to discuss a serious problem in a few brief pages. Highly, highly recommend, full-stop.
About the authors and illustrator:
Georgie Badiel is a high-fashion model who hails from the landlocked country of Burkina Faso. After she won the title of Miss Africa in 2005, Georgie’s profile continued to soar as she appeared on the runways of designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, and Diane Von Furstenberg and was featured in editorials for magazines including Russian Vogue, Essence, and Elle. The Water Princess is inspired by her childhood in her small village in Burkina Faso.
Peter H. Reynolds is an author and illustrator, as well as the founder of the educational media company FableVision. Reynolds is best known for his children's books about authentic learning, creativity, and self-expression. His picture books include The Dot, which has been published in over twenty languages, and the New York Times bestseller Someday by Alison McGhee. Reynolds lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, and is the co-owner of his family's book store, The Blue Bunny Bookstore.