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White Water

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
For a young boy growing up in the segregated south, a town drinking fountain becomes the source of an epiphany.

It's a scorching hot day, and going into town with Grandma is one of Michael's favorite things. When the bus pulls up, they climb in and pay their fare, get out, walk to the back door, and climb in again. By the time they arrive in town, Michael's throat is as dry
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Candlewick
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Scooping it Up
Aug 14, 2013 Scooping it Up rated it really liked it
I grabbed this at the library, frankly, because I saw a brown kid on the front and I make a point to make sure the books we bring home feature children with diverse skin colors or from different countries and cultures. I didn't screen it. I did not know the content and inadvertently created a dialog with my kids about segregation. They knew about Ruby Bridges, they knew about slavery and a little bit about Civil Rights, but the extent to which the idiocy infiltrated every little aspect of human ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Michael is a young black boy who lives in a segregated world, one world for the white people and one for the colored. One day, when Michael is hot and thirsty, he takes a drink from the fountains for black people. The water tasted like “nasty, muddy, gritty yuck.” He saw a white boy drinking from the white fountain and Michael began to imagine what the white water tasted like. He imagined white water was pure and cold. He could not get the idea that he must try the white water out of his head. F ...more
Sep 02, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
Authors Bandy and Stein created this story from one of Bandy’s childhood memories of of being prohibited from drinking from a water fountain reserved for whites only. Set in the South in the early Sixties, White Water tells how a young black child, Michael, hates the taste of the water from the “colored” water fountain, and becomes obsessed with finding out what “white” water tastes like. One day he manages to sneak downtown to find out. As he partakes of the forbidden fruit, which tastes as bad ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
On a very hot day in 1962, Michael and his grandmother take the bus into down. Once they get there, Michael runs to the water fountains to take a drink. But the water tastes nasty and dirty. He looks over at a little boy drinking out of the whites-only water fountain and sees a little boy enjoying his drink. Could the white water be better? Michael decides to find out and takes the bus to town by himself. When no one is looking, he takes a drink from the whites-only water fountain. It tastes dir ...more
Nerisa  Eugenia Waterman
Feb 07, 2015 Nerisa Eugenia Waterman rated it it was amazing
"White Water" made its debut in 2011 and it is inspired by a true story...the story of Michael S. of the co-authors of this book. It took several years for White Water to become a children’s book and the story that inspired this children’s book has become a made for TV movie that will premiere on TV One.

White Water tells the story of a young Michael excited to take a trip into town with his grandmother. What makes this children’s story unique is that it is set during a time of segreg
Jan 07, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Michael wants nothing more than to taste the water from the white water fountain in town. He becomes obsessed with idea, imagining that it's pure and clear. Finally, he comes up with a plan to go to town to try the water for himself. He discovers that the water is exactly the same -- warm, muddy, and gross. He realizes that he can do anything, a leap that I'm not sure that young students will really quite understand.

The strength of this book is that it illustrates come Jim Crow laws in the Sout
Jun 14, 2017 Josie rated it it was amazing
This book is about a boy during segregation who wants to drink out of the drinking fountain that is labeled for white people. The water labeled for colored people doesn't taste good to him, and he thinks that the white water will be cold and clean. When he finally gets to taste it, he realizes it is the same.

The media used here seems to be watercolor.

I think this book would be a great book to be read aloud. It has illustrations that go along with the book exactly which makes it very easy to fo
Daniela Diaz
Mar 21, 2017 Daniela Diaz rated it it was amazing
White Water is about a young boy who loves to wait for the bus with his grandma the problem is that he does not understand why they have to give up their spot for a family of a different race. He starts to question why he had to drink water from a different drinking fountain from the rest of the other kids. This book talks about segregation and it will be a good book to share with students when they talk about history.
Mar 21, 2017 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This book is about a boy who wants to drink out of the white water fountain. He thinks it has cold very tasty water. He find out that the water actually is the same for the brown fountain and the white fountain. He then questions why they must drink out of different fountains. This book was written beautifully. I would love to share this with any class I teach.
Jun 06, 2017 Shelby rated it it was amazing
I thought that this story was a very interesting way to show young children what segregation was like.
Mar 20, 2017 Ana rated it it was amazing
This black boy wonders why he can't drink out of the white drinking fountain. When he drinks out of his drinking fountain, its warm and doesn't taste very good. He wonders what the white drinking fountain water tastes like. One day he skips school and goes to the water fountain to taste the water. He tasted it and got caught by a white woman. He realized that the water tasted the same in both drinking fountains. There was no difference, no "better" water. The color of the illustrations looked "o ...more
Kayla Spires
Feb 27, 2017 Kayla Spires rated it it was amazing
A story sharing about the normalcies of racist in the 60s and the lack of rights for blacks. Told from a young boys perspective who wants to try the whites only water fountain to see if it's any different. The realistic water color work and true factual images with white bordering draws the attention and teaching opportunities. More about perspective than facts.
Madie Marie
Mar 31, 2016 Madie Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Historical book number 4- In this book a little african american boy and his grandmother are going to go into town. It's a hot day and the boy is tired so they sit down at a bench and wait for the bus. However, before the bus arrives, a white women and her son come and the little african american boy Michael, and his grandmother have to get up and let them sit. Once the bus comes, the white folks pay their fare and get in. Michael and his grandmother pay the fare then get out and walk to the bac ...more
Aug 02, 2011 Doret rated it really liked it
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 teachi
Stacey Cook
Oct 16, 2012 Stacey Cook rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
This book is inspired by a true story about a little African American boy growing up in the segregated South. Michael and his Grandmother went down town. Michael was so thirsty that he went to the water fountain that read “blacks only”. After the first few sips, the water tasted like “nasty, muddy, and gritty yuck.” Michael sees that the boy drinking from the “whites only” water fountain is still drinking. Michael becomes determined to find out what the “whites only” water tastes like.

This woul
Dec 29, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
When Michael goes to town with his grandmother in the segregated South of 1962, he notices the way he and the other African Americans must pay their bus fares and then enter from the rear. Once he arrives in town, he is thirsty and grateful to drink from the water fountain even though there are separate fountains for blacks and whites. To his surprise, the water is gritty and doesn't taste good at all. Once he returns home, he begins thinking that the fountain for whites must taste much better a ...more
The signs over the fountains had put a bad idea in my head. But they were a lie. If they weren't real, what else should I question? Maye there were lots of things - like that nasty old white water - that weren't true. That had nothing to do with nothing. Maybe everything I thought I couldn't do was just in my imagination, too. That's when I realized - I could do anything.

Two young men drink from a fountain. One for colored and one for white. However, the colored child thinks that the white fount
Livvie Esslinger
This story tells about the everyday life of a boy who lives with his grandmother during segregation times. One day, after drinking out of the "colored" water fountain next to a white boy drinking out of the "whites" water fountain, he cannot get the idea of what that white water tastes like out of his head. He thinks about it everywhere and all the time. Finally, he decides to sneak into town alone and try it. After a white woman startles him, he falls to the ground to find that both water fount ...more
Ruby Choe
Oct 27, 2014 Ruby Choe rated it really liked it
The White Water is a realistic fiction inspired by a true story. The book is about a boy named Michael, who lived in the segregation period in our history. Even though Michael was tired walking to the bus stop he had to get up from the bench for white people. Michael rode all the way in the back of the bus, not the front. Arriving in town, Michael runs to the water fountain under ‘colored’ sign. The water was warm and rusty. When he saw a boy drinking water under ‘white’ sign, Michael thought th ...more
Kourtnie Bussey
Oct 23, 2013 Kourtnie Bussey rated it it was amazing
Michael S. Bandy does a wonderful job of retelling the story of his childhood as a young boy. The little boy travels to the city on a very hot day. When he gets off the bus, he rushes to the fountain that says "for colored only." As he is drinking, he looks over to see a white boy drink from the water fountain labeled "for whites only." As the day goes on, the young boy wonders how the water from the white water fountain will taste. He knows that it will taste so much better than the muddy water ...more
Nicole Voerg
Oct 27, 2016 Nicole Voerg rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
1. No awards
2.2-3rd grade
3. This is the story of a boy, who after a bus ride goes to get water from the fountain. His water from the fountain is warm and rusted. Yet he looks at the white boy who is drinking clean cold water, with the sign "whites only". Micheal wants to get to the bottom of why he is being treated this way when whites are getting everything better.
4. I love this story. I think segregation is a topic that many children do not understand and it is hard to rite children's books ab
Gloria Carrera
Mar 12, 2016 Gloria Carrera rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful historical children's book to read to children of all ages, preferably to elementary schoolers. Inspired by a true story, White Water will give great inspiration for children feeling little or less than the other kids.
The author did a fascinating job in matching the text with illustrations. In some parts, it gave off even more detail on the pictures, of what the thoughts of the boy were. Most of the book included a brown color, representing earth, home, and outdoors, which w
Rachel Bayly
Oct 13, 2016 Rachel Bayly added it
Shelves: ed230
Michael becomes obsessed with the idea of trying the water from the whites only drinking fountain. He comes up with an elaborate plan to sneak into town and try the water. Michael is shocked to learn that the white water come from the same pipe as the colored water.

Michael's thoughts about how crazy it is that he obsessed over the water that was labeled differently when it came from the exact same place can be shared by anyone learning about segregation. We are all human. We are all the same. L
Kristen Lindsay
Oct 22, 2013 Kristen Lindsay rated it it was amazing
I felt the book white water delivered so many perspectives about African American race. The book entitled "White Water" focuses on an African American boy whom grows up in the south. The south is heavily populated with segregation. Michael learns quickly to adapt to segregation from peers and family members. Michael is often puzzled to why he continues to face opposition based on his skin color. Michael continuously dreams of what he would be able to do if he were only of white descendant. One h ...more
Mar 18, 2016 RC rated it it was amazing
This book uses strong sensory language and beautiful illustrations to convey the feelings of a young boy growing up in the American South during the Jim Crow Era. One easily empathizes with the young boy who is overcome with daydreams about what makes the white water fountain so much better. The story is full of longing and anxiety. Michael wants to know what it feels like to have equal rights, and to be looked at with the same respect as white kids. This book would be a great springboard for a ...more
Michael is an African American boy in the sixties. He knows he has to sit in the back of the bus and drink from the "colored water". But the colored water doesn't taste good at all. Michael decides he is going to set up a plan to drink from the "white water". When he does he realizes that it tastes the same as the other fountain. He even sees that the water comes from the same pipes. This gives him new hope and belief that he can do anything.
This is a great book for children to learn about segre
Brenda Engelhardt
Feb 25, 2013 Brenda Engelhardt rated it it was amazing
There is something about the innate outrageousness of racism that makes it hard to teach. When 6th graders hear that there were separate water fountains - they cannot grasp the logistics let alone the logic.
This beautifully illustrated and straightforward story tells about the situation from a young African American perspective. In the end - despite the inequity in water fountains, the boy finds a strength within himself not to believe the lie of racism.
This book is perfect for information to
Liz Miro
White Water is based on a childhood experience of author Michael Bandy, who grew up in the segregation-era South. Michael was intrigued by the separate drinking fountains for blacks and whites, and became obsessed with the "white water". White Water could be read independently by second or third graders, but deals with the topic of segregation in a manner that would be also perplexing to younger students and could yield very interesting and meaningful classroom discussions under teacher mediatio ...more
Kaylan Nurse
Oct 31, 2013 Kaylan Nurse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity
In this story, Michael wanted to explore his curiosities about the "whitw water". I appreciated reading this story because it includes real life sitiations about the way blacks were segregated from the rest. The illustrations carefully backed up the text and portrayed the story perfectly. This is a great story to read to students when introducing them to the topic of race and why things were the way they used to be. This book can be used for social studies and even tracing children about individ ...more
Beth Schencker
Jun 07, 2013 Beth Schencker rated it liked it
When young Michael is daring enough to take a drink from the Whites Only fountain, he is amazed that it is no better than the one he is forced to drink from. I enjoyed how little Michael became obsessed with finding out the difference between the two fountains and was brave enough to explore the difference. The illustrations from Shadra Strickland are beautiful. “Lying on the ground, all I could see was the pipe. I’d never seen it from that angle before. The same pipe fed both fountains! Two fou ...more
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Michael S. Bandy caught the writing bug when his third-grade teacher surprised him with a set of Dr. Seuss books. He’s been writing plays, screenplays, and books ever since. He lives in Los Angeles and is involved in a number of children’s charities.
More about Michael S. Bandy...

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