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The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

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This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day. Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day. Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody's family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.


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This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day. Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day. Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody's family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.

30 review for The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation is a children's picture book written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Shonto Begay. It is set on the sprawling Diné reservation, which would educate young readers about the beauty and rigors of life on the high-desert plateau. McGinty's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informational. With lyrical language McGinty describes life in the Navajo Nation rather well with most families not having running water and depi The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation is a children's picture book written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Shonto Begay. It is set on the sprawling Diné reservation, which would educate young readers about the beauty and rigors of life on the high-desert plateau. McGinty's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informational. With lyrical language McGinty describes life in the Navajo Nation rather well with most families not having running water and depicts Arviso moving from her job driving a yellow school bus to her job driving a yellow water truck. Backmatter includes an author's note, a note from Arviso herself, sources, and glossary. Navajo artist Begay’s vibrant ink and watercolor art brings a stirring emotional undercurrent to this community-oriented narrative. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Told through a fictional Diné boy named Cody, he is introduced to Darlene Arviso, known as the Water Lady, who delivers water to Navajo Nation families that do not have running water. Waking to discover that his mother has used the last of the family's water supply, Cody worries about their farm animals and himself. As Cody's grandmother relays to him the story of the Water Sprinkler – the Navajo God of Water who collects water in a jar and sprinkles it in all directions, Arviso finishes her job driving a school bus, then visits a water tower to fill a tanker truck with 3,000 gallons before steering to Cody’s home, and to others. All in all, The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation is a quiet yet touching story will open young readers' eyes in a multitude of ways.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    The Dine (Navajo) woman profiled in this picture book is Darlene Arviso, but she has earned her handle as THE WATER LADY. The story of her role in providing clean water for those on her reservation without access is launched through the eyes of a young Dine boy who wakes to the realization that there will be no water that morning- not for him, or his dog or chickens, or his grandmother and family. Despite using less than a tenth of the typical daily quantity used by most of this nation (a hundre The Dine (Navajo) woman profiled in this picture book is Darlene Arviso, but she has earned her handle as THE WATER LADY. The story of her role in providing clean water for those on her reservation without access is launched through the eyes of a young Dine boy who wakes to the realization that there will be no water that morning- not for him, or his dog or chickens, or his grandmother and family. Despite using less than a tenth of the typical daily quantity used by most of this nation (a hundred gallons or more PER PERSON, PER DAY) their supply has been used up. But readers follow the very busy WATER LADY, who first uses a school bus to deliver kids to classes, then switches to a tanker truck which she filled with clean water and delivers home-to-home on challenging and distant routes. There is so much to enjoy in this story, which has a compelling but steady pace and satisfying conclusion. Even so, the reality is that people must face the consequences of pollution, climate warming, waste, and lack of resources. The warmth of these individuals and their particular stories elevates an important book to one of significance on many levels.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This book profiles a Navajo helper, Darlene Arviso who brings water to hundreds of families on the Navajo Reservation who don't have access to running water at their homes. Pair this one with We Are Water Protectors for another look on Native American relationships with water or with Nya's Long Walk for a global look at communities who don't have easy access to water. This book profiles a Navajo helper, Darlene Arviso who brings water to hundreds of families on the Navajo Reservation who don't have access to running water at their homes. Pair this one with We Are Water Protectors for another look on Native American relationships with water or with Nya's Long Walk for a global look at communities who don't have easy access to water.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    It is still fun to read picture books once in a while with my kids even though they prefer chapter books. This is a good book to see the life on a Navajo reservation in our current days. Gives a good perspective of how others live...krb 5/21/21

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Cody, a child living in the Navajo Nation, wakes up thirsty. The bucket in the kitchen is empty and so are all of the water barrels outside. This is the only water that Cody and his family have. Meanwhile, Darlene Arviso is getting ready to work. She has running water in her trailer, but many in the Navajo Nation do not. She climbs aboard the school bus she drives and delivers students to school. Then she heads to her other job. She fills the yellow tanker truck with water from the water tower a Cody, a child living in the Navajo Nation, wakes up thirsty. The bucket in the kitchen is empty and so are all of the water barrels outside. This is the only water that Cody and his family have. Meanwhile, Darlene Arviso is getting ready to work. She has running water in her trailer, but many in the Navajo Nation do not. She climbs aboard the school bus she drives and delivers students to school. Then she heads to her other job. She fills the yellow tanker truck with water from the water tower and heads out onto the road once more. She drives many miles through the mesas, steep hills and valleys. Eventually, she reaches Cody’s home where she fills the water barrels. Over the course of a month, Darlene delivers water to over 200 families and then starts over again. McGinty offers a glimpse into the story of one woman and her hard work that allows people on the Navajo Nation to survive without running water. At the same time, she also speaks to the hardship of lives lived without modern conveniences and the worry that can create in children like Cody. Throughout the book, Darlene is treated as the hero she is, a critical link to drinking water for families who ration it, using a fraction of what modern families tend to use. Begay’s art captures the beauty of the Navajo Nation by showing many landscapes full of purple, blue and yellow light. Using watercolor washes to fill the background, he creates moments of worry, tenacity and joy as Darlene finally reaches them with water. A powerful look at modern Navajos and the impact of community in the face of poverty. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jolynne Dougherty

    I am glad that I read this and learned about this remarkable woman. Darlene Arviso is a Dine, a member of the Navajo Nation. Every day, she delivers water to those who live their lives without running water in her community. She is hopeful not to need to do this in the future as there are organizations working to bring water to her community. Due to lack of rain and local water sources being polluted by mining, safe drinking water is hard to find. It is necessary to dig deep to find clean water I am glad that I read this and learned about this remarkable woman. Darlene Arviso is a Dine, a member of the Navajo Nation. Every day, she delivers water to those who live their lives without running water in her community. She is hopeful not to need to do this in the future as there are organizations working to bring water to her community. Due to lack of rain and local water sources being polluted by mining, safe drinking water is hard to find. It is necessary to dig deep to find clean water and this is expensive.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    The true story of a remarkable woman, Darlene Arviso, who delivers water to 220 Native Americans on the Navajo reservation each month. It was humbling to read about the number of homes and families who still don't have access to fresh water and rely on this water to be delivered and the fact that these families are using 7 gallons of water a day compared to the average American who uses around 100 gallons a day. We need to do better! We can do better! The true story of a remarkable woman, Darlene Arviso, who delivers water to 220 Native Americans on the Navajo reservation each month. It was humbling to read about the number of homes and families who still don't have access to fresh water and rely on this water to be delivered and the fact that these families are using 7 gallons of water a day compared to the average American who uses around 100 gallons a day. We need to do better! We can do better!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Winfrey

    The author tells the story of Darlene Arviso, who delivers water to her community in the Navajo Nation. The note describes how the author went with Darlene on her route in 2016 - so this book was a long time getting published! I wonder how Dig Deep is doing getting water on this reservation today...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    A story about the Navajo Nation today that will make kids appreciate the blessing of running water in their homes. Author is not native but the illustrator is Navajo. Includes glossary, Navajo words, author note, sources, and a note and photo of the real Darlene Arviso I like the reference to the interview from CBS news with Darlene Arviso. I'll try to see if I can access that and watch it. A story about the Navajo Nation today that will make kids appreciate the blessing of running water in their homes. Author is not native but the illustrator is Navajo. Includes glossary, Navajo words, author note, sources, and a note and photo of the real Darlene Arviso I like the reference to the interview from CBS news with Darlene Arviso. I'll try to see if I can access that and watch it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Possible contender for the Mock Caldecott Awards in January 2022. The story of a woman who makes sure that the people of the Navajo Nation who live in the high desert have a constant supply of fresh water.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Caufman

    "While almost every other American will use around a hundred gallons of water today, many on the Navajo reservation will only use seven." Wow. This book will have you feeling thankful about the gift of water and the ease we can get it. "While almost every other American will use around a hundred gallons of water today, many on the Navajo reservation will only use seven." Wow. This book will have you feeling thankful about the gift of water and the ease we can get it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    The whole family enjoyed this story. This moving tale about water insecurity includes lovely water color illustrations and an informative authors note. An important and timely read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa D

    What a beautiful book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    "While almost every other American will use around a hundred gallons of water today, many on the Navajo reservation will use only seven." "While almost every other American will use around a hundred gallons of water today, many on the Navajo reservation will use only seven."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Misra

    May this bring awareness to this injustice.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John Medendorp

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caralen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mompop

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annese

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laina

  30. 4 out of 5

    A

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