cover image Water Day

Water Day

Margarita Engle, illus. by Olivia Sua. Atheneum, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-6659-1871-8

A young Cuban narrator anticipating a family water delivery offers a necessary reminder that water is a resource not freely available to all. “Five days have passed since the water man’s last visit,” and the family is eager to bathe, wash clothes, cook rice, boil water “so that it’s clean enough to drink without getting sick,” and even water some trees. A rooftop tank is filled to the top, and the fish lady soon delivers “silvery little peces to pour in the tank” to consume mosquito larvae and prevent disease spread. In great-grandma’s day, “the rains came every afternoon all summer, filling the well and... big clay jars,” but today, after weather and groundwater changes, “without the water man... we would be so thirsty.” This theme carries through to debut creator Sua’s painted cut-paper illustrations, which use hues of brown and blue. Focusing on the realities of limited water resources alongside an occurrence that makes “our whole neighborhood... noisy and lively,” the creators create a portrait of a day that “feels like a river of joy” flowing “for my whole thirsty familia.” Back matter includes an author’s note and more about the global water crisis. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)