Adopted from Ethiopia, where water is precious and obtained from distant water holes, Eva Alemitu finds a connection with her homeland in sunshine and puddles in her new home.
Eva recalls her early childhood in the Ethiopian countryside, burnished in oil-paint and mixed-media illustrations that emphasize the browns of the land and the blues of the sky. But both text and pictures offer reason to leave: A growling beast of a cloud follows the child and her mother on their daily trek for wood and water; a lion roars in her empty stomach, too. Sadly, the child’s mother sends her away to a new home and new family. Life is different in this country: Water comes from a tap; she goes to school, wears shoes most of the time and eats regularly. Even the animals are different. Velasquez’s paintings depict the Ieronimo family, and the story has its roots in the author’s experience. A short endnote describes issues of clean water and poverty in Ethiopia and connects readers to organizations that offer help. Pair with Beatrice Hollyer’s Our World of Water (2009) to broaden the scope of children’s understanding of the need for clean, safe water around the world.
This slim, sweet story will resonate particularly with children missing a previous home. (Picture book. 5-8)