A Thirst For Home: A Story of Water across the World

Overview

Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu.  She becomes Eva in her new home in America, and although her life there is better in so many ways, she’ll never forget her homeland and the mother who gave up so ...

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Overview

Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu.  She becomes Eva in her new home in America, and although her life there is better in so many ways, she’ll never forget her homeland and the mother who gave up so much for her. Told through the lens that water connects all people everywhere, this eye-opening, emotional story will get readers thinking about the world beyond their own.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/17/2014
First-time author Ieronimo draws from personal experience (in 2008, she traveled to Ethiopia to adopt a daughter) in this story that aims to draw attention to the need for access to clean water. An Ethiopian girl named Alemitu narrates, describing arduous trips to a watering hole with her emaye (mother) and obliquely referencing her near-constant hunger, described as a lion in her belly. Ieromino is similarly coy when it comes to Alemitu’s eventual adoption: the girl and her mother share a tearful goodbye, and several weeks later a “lady the color of the moon” visits Alemitu and becomes her “new emaye.” In America, Alemitu takes the name Eva, as she gains a large adoptive family and access to food, water, clothing, and an education. Velasquez’s mixed-media paintings have a lush realism, though as the story moves to America they become more static and posed. While an endnote briefly discusses the scarcity of water and other problems facing many Ethiopians, the book tiptoes around the very issues it seeks to address, and is likely to leave readers with many lingering questions about Alemitu’s journey. Ages 4–8. (May)
From the Publisher
"This slim, sweet story will resonate particularly with children missing a previous home." —Kirkus Reviews

"Velasquez’s light-infused illustrations capture the quiet dignity of Emaye’s grief and Eva’s tentative acceptance, and perfectly complement the tender tone of the text . . . This book can be read as one of a growing number of immigration stories." —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-17
Adopted from Ethiopia, where water is precious and obtained from distant water holes, Eva Alemitu finds a connection with her homeland in sunshine and puddles in her new home. Eva recalls her early childhood in the Ethiopian countryside, burnished in oil-paint and mixed-media illustrations that emphasize the browns of the land and the blues of the sky. But both text and pictures offer reason to leave: A growling beast of a cloud follows the child and her mother on their daily trek for wood and water; a lion roars in her empty stomach, too. Sadly, the child's mother sends her away to a new home and new family. Life is different in this country: Water comes from a tap; she goes to school, wears shoes most of the time and eats regularly. Even the animals are different. Velasquez's paintings depict the Ieronimo family, and the story has its roots in the author's experience. A short endnote describes issues of clean water and poverty in Ethiopia and connects readers to organizations that offer help. Pair with Beatrice Hollyer's Our World of Water (2009) to broaden the scope of children's understanding of the need for clean, safe water around the world. This slim, sweet story will resonate particularly with children missing a previous home. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802723079
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 458,232
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTINE IERONIMO traveled to Ethiopia in 2008 to adopt her daughter and was deeply affected by the poverty there. Since then she has been involved in many organizations focusing on education and other efforts in Ethiopia. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children.

www.christineieronimo.com

ERIC VELASQUEZ is the author and illustrator of The Price of Freedom, Grandma's Records and Grandma's Gift, a Pura Belpré Award winner. He is also the illustrator of The Piano Man, for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.  

www.ericvelasquez.com

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