Candlewick Press
Grades K-3, 40 pages

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White Water

by Michael S. Bandy (Author), Eric Stein (Author), Shadra Stickland (Illustrator)

In this gentle, award-winning picture book, an African American boy nicknamed Bird uses drawing as a creative outlet as he struggles to make sense of his grandfather's death and his brother's drug addiction.

After a long bus ride into town with his grandmother on a scorching hot day, Michael runs to the water fountain to quench his thirst. But instead of refreshing him, the water tastes gritty and dirty. Dismayed, Michael begins to imagine that the water from the nearby “white” fountain is exactly the kind of water he would like to taste…

Set in 1962 in the segregation-era South at the dawn of the civil rights movement, this moving and inspirational story, based on a real-life childhood experience of author Michael S. Bandy, shows how one epiphany opens up a whole world of possibilities.


“From the seating on the bus to the two water fountains, this book is a good look at the segregated South. Strickland’s illustrations compliment the text beautifully with a commitment to detail. This is an excellent title to be used for African-American history month, Civil Rights curriculum, and as a read-aloud for younger students.”
—Library Media Connection (highly recommended)

“Michael’s determination and imaginativeness are evident in Strickland’spale mixed-media paintings, which make excellent use of outlines to portray the boy’s imaginings.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Inspirational in tone, this is a strong introduction for young listeners and readers to the American Civil Rights movement.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Strickland’s illustrations compliment the text beautifully with a commitment to detail. Textually and visually, this title simply comes together very well.”
—Library Media Connection (starred review)