cover image A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World

Christine Ieronimo, illus. by Eric Velasquez. Walker, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8027-2307-9

First-time author Ieronimo draws from personal experience (in 2008, she traveled to Ethiopia to adopt a daughter) in this story that aims to draw attention to the need for access to clean water. An Ethiopian girl named Alemitu narrates, describing arduous trips to a watering hole with her emaye (mother) and obliquely referencing her near-constant hunger, described as a lion in her belly. Ieromino is similarly coy when it comes to Alemitu’s eventual adoption: the girl and her mother share a tearful goodbye, and several weeks later a “lady the color of the moon” visits Alemitu and becomes her “new emaye.” In America, Alemitu takes the name Eva, as she gains a large adoptive family and access to food, water, clothing, and an education. Velasquez’s mixed-media paintings have a lush realism, though as the story moves to America they become more static and posed. While an endnote briefly discusses the scarcity of water and other problems facing many Ethiopians, the book tiptoes around the very issues it seeks to address, and is likely to leave readers with many lingering questions about Alemitu’s journey. Ages 4–8. (May)