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White Water

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  46 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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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
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
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
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
Scooping it Up
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
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
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
Nerisa  Eugenia Waterman
"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
Ruby Choe
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
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
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
Stacey Cook
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
Kourtnie Bussey
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
Should definitely be paired with A Taste of Colored Water- as it is similar situations told from the two different perspectives. Excellent read-aloud for Black History Month, sure to spawn some great discussion.
Lin Lin
When Jim Crow laws were effective in the South of the the United States, a boy could not resist his curiosity to try to taste the water from the fountain that was labeled WHITE only. When he tasted it, he learned the truth. The truth and justice never see color.
Kristen Lindsay
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
Definitely a school aged picture book, perhaps 1st through 3rd...
Read this with my 7 year old and it was a very powerful look at one boy's experience with the drinking fountains in pre Civil Rights days...
I love the way this book goes inside the head of a curious, smart, brave boy on the cusp of questioning why his world works the way it does (unfairly in most every way, fairly in a few).
Really well done! Love the ending to this book where the boy realizes that both the whites only drinking fountain and the colored drinking fountain come from the very same pipe!
Brenda Engelhardt
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
Apr 30, 2014 Vani added it
An absolutely brilliant and powerfully simple book that teaches children about the power of perception and their influence on our thoughts and actions.
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
Karen Arendt
A good story about segregation and the doubts it instilled in one small boy- based on a true story.
Beth Schencker
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
Kaylan Nurse
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
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
White Water is a nice a nice story that explains the discrimination of black people in the 1950's before Rosa Parks took a stand. They had restrictions against things like having to give up a seat for a white person if there was no more seats on a bus and they also had to sit behind whites. It's the story about a black boy called Michael who wonders about something while out one day and takes a big risk one day. The pictures are beautiful and fine.
This is a story about a boy who really wants to know if the water fountain the white people get to drink out of is different than the blacks water fountain. He makes up a plan and goes through with it and finds out that both fountains taste the same. This makes him believe if what the adults have been telling him really is true. Great book.

Great addition to my diversity collection
I wasn't quite sure where this story was going, as far as it related to Civil Rights. Mostly it laid the "background" of what some conditions were like and how one experience got a boy to question things. It doesn't show the actions he takes after the experience, just says it got him to question. And I think that's a good lesson at any time in history.
This picture book about a young boy growing up in the segregated south teaches an empowering lesson on curiosity and questioning. Children should relate to this young character and the illustrations should keep help them imagine the time and place.

Recommended for African-American history month, as a read-aloud and for ages 5-7.
From the perspective of Michael in 1962 segregated South, the water from the "Whites Only" fountain surely must taste better than the gritty warm water coming from his fountain. What revelation will he have when he sneaks a taste of that water? Memorable book. Good discussion block for talk with elementary children about segregation.
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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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