White Water by Michael S. Bandy & Eric Stein illus. by Shadra Strickland
On a very hot day Michael takes the bus to town with his Grandma. Halfway there all Michael can think about is getting a cool drink from the water fountain. He only takes a few sips of the nasty tasting water. Next to Micheal is a boy his age taking a nice long drink from the Whites only fountain. Now Micheal wants to see for himself how refreshing and cool the White water taste .
I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed White Water. Many times historical picture books are so focused on teaching, there's little room for anything else. White Water is the best of both worlds. From the seating on the bus to the two water fountains its a good look at the segregated South. With Micheal's imagination from his army men who cover him to daydreaming in class, the story is also fun.
"After that, I couldn't concentrate anywhere, not even at school. One moment I would be in class, then suddenly, I'd be crawling on my hands and knees in the hot desert. Out of nowhere, there was a palm tree with a water fountain under it. Above the fountain was a whites only sign. I got up, opened my mouth, and was about to take a drink, when "Michael. Michael," the teacher said, "would you care to join us today?" I snapped out of it. All the kids were laughing at me."
Strickland's wonderful illustrations compliment the text beautifully. The spreads are open with very nice muted earth tones. I love Strickland's commitment to detail, from the water drops to Micheal's faithful dog. The illustrations confirm that this is a story about a boy who went on a dangerous adventure and learned a valuable lesson in the process. Textually and visually White Water simply came together very well.
Publishers Weekly review