Title: White Water
Author: Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
Illustrator: Shadra Strickland
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: discrimination, racial inequality, social justice, segregation
Review: Michael's excitement to go into town with his grandma began to wither with the extreme summer heat. It withered a little more after having to go through the same routine of paying the bus driver at the front of the bus, getting off the bus, and getting back on the bus in the rear where blacks were supposed to sit given the laws of the time. In the meantime, Michael built up an extreme thirst, and he couldn't wait to get to the public drinking fountain for a long, cool drink.
Unfortunately Michael's water tasted pretty muddy and gritty after just a few sips, while the boy drinking from the water fountain for white people seemed to savor the pure, icy cold water. Perhaps the white boy had special white water? Michael just had to know what that white water tasted like, and he was determined to find out.
With its Southern small-town setting during the early 1960s, this picture book exposes young readers to the daily indignities that African Americans experienced as a result of the laws that institutionalized discrimination by race. Expressive illustrations add further vividness to this memorable story, based on a real event in the author's childhood.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children