5 Great Picture Books About Water

Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. Can you believe it? This horror must end, and thankfully many good people around the globe are engaged in the battle.

When it comes to those of us who care about books and kids, you've heard me say it before: books can play a part in shaping a child's heart to care and learn about this issue.

In honor of World Water Day, here are five tried-and-true picture books illuminating the life-giving power of water (please add more suggestions in the comments):

BRINGING THE RAIN TO KAPITI PLAIN (Dial, 1981) by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal

Based on a Kenyan folktale, this Reading Rainbow selection uses cumulative rhyme to show how Ki-pat ingeniously brings rain to the arid Kapiti Plain.

THE WATER HOLE (Abrams, 2001) by Graeme Base

As one rhino gives way to two tigers, then three toucans, on up to 10 kangaroos, die-cut pages reveal the water hole in 10 different worldwide habitats, from African plains to Himalayan mountains to the Australian outback. But the water hole keeps shrinking, and with it the number of frolicking frogs. Can anything bring back the water that the animals all need to survive?

RATA PATA SCATA FATA (Little Brown, 1995) by Phyllis Gershator, illustrated by Holly Meade

Preferring to dream away the days on his Caribbean island, little Junjun tries saying magic words to get the chores done — including filling the rain barrel with much-needed water.

MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER'S GOURD (Orchard Books, 2000) by Cristina Kessler, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop

Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima's grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree.

MONSOON (FSG, 2003) by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib

Children play, birds call, and grownups go about their business during the hot days of summer in northern India. But in the bustle of street and marketplace, everyone is watching, waiting for those magical clouds to bring their gift of rain to the land. Through the observations of one young girl, the scents and sounds, the dazzling colors, and the breathless anticipation of a parched cityscape are vividly evoked during the final days before the welcome arrival of the monsoon.

Want to dig deeper with your kids? Check out these lesson plans from water.org, and ways to get involved from charity: water.