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A Taste of Colored Water
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A Taste of Colored Water

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  214 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
You could blame Abbey Finch. If she hadn't come back from town with tales of a fountain bubbling with "colored" water, LuLu and Jelly would not have needed to go see for themselves. But it's not Abbey's fault. It's the early 1960s and colored water isn't the fruit-flavored Technicolor wonder that LuLu and Jelly are expecting. And having a drink doesn't come without a price ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Oct 07, 2012 Taneka rated it it was amazing
I ran across this gem while looking for a book about "Water" for a class assignment. It is truly a gem. I have read countless books about the Civil Rights Era for children, but this books shows the events from the eyes of innocent children on the other side. Two children, Lucresia (LuLu) and Julius (Jelly) hear a story from a neighbor about a colored bubbler (water fountain). Who'd ever heard of "colored" water coming out of a bubbler? Lulu and Jelly are determined to go to town to taste the wa ...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 24, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Oh, I was fooled just as the two children in the book are fooled and confused. The book cover, with a water fountain spouting water in a rainbow of colors contributed to this. I was expecting a fantasy book. (I was thinking of the tooth fairy of my childhood who overnight took my tooth out of a glass of water and left a quarter in the same glass of now colored – with food coloring – water. I was too light a sleeper for my parents to do the under the pillow trick.)

However, the colored water in th
Sep 22, 2008 Casey rated it it was amazing
A Taste of Colored Water is a historical fiction book. It is about a little girl and boy from a small town, who travel to the big city to search for the colored water they heard about from a friend. They imagine this water is going to be many colors with many wonderful flavors. When they finally get to the city though, they are in for a big surprise when they run into a march for civil rights.
1)This would be a good story to read after learning about the Civil War or during Black Hist
Patti Richards
Nov 11, 2011 Patti Richards rated it it was amazing
My National Picture Book Month pick for today is Michigan author and illustrator Matt Faulkner's book, "A Taste of Colored Water,"(Simon and Schuster 2008). This book is special to me because of my deep southern roots and my family's stories of their experiences with the fight for racial equality. Matt does an amazing job of taking a difficult subject, often hard for children to understand, and treating it in a way that explains, while encouraging kids to draw their own conclusions about segrega ...more
Whitney Strickland
Feb 08, 2011 Whitney Strickland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: change, history
Author Matt Faulkner really does a remarkable job explaining a significant time in history through the eyes of children. When Lulu visits the city and sees a water fountain with print on it reading, colored water. She returns home to tell her friends that there is such a thing as colorful water and it pour out of a water fountain. Sadly to their surprise when returning to the city; the children find that the water is as clear as what runs through their faucets at home. This is where they see seg ...more
Courtney Sharpton
This is a beautifully written book about two kids misunderstanding about segregation. I would live to read this to my class when discussing segregation to talk about different view points. SO often we teach that most white people hated black people and there were only a few good people. We never think of the children who did not even know what segregation was because it was literally did not exist to them.
Aug 01, 2008 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Very thought provoking. Loved the illustrations. The theme of the kids' naivete running smack-dab into the reality of intolerance is very well portrayed. The afterword is an important part of this book and could be read to an older child. I like this book; it covers a part of our history that needs to be remembered--so that it won't be repeated. And I think Faulkner handles it in a way that kids can relate to and that isn't overly harsh.

May 20, 2013 Eugene added it
I like this book very much. I thought it was funny that they thought "colored water" meant that the water was colored. But I also thought that it was mean to that a fire truck and splash water on African american just because you don't like their skin color. I think that the boys were very open minded, they of the good thing first before they thought of the bad thing.
Apr 13, 2009 RachelAnne rated it it was amazing
A beautiful introduction to the Civil Rights movement for younger children. When a neighbor comes back from town with tales of "colored water fountains" in the city, the two main characters are tantalized by notions of flavored, rainbow-hued water bubbling out of the spigot, and they can't wait to go try it for themselves. The truth, of course, is much uglier. A great way to spark discussion.
Nov 10, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing
Great way to introduce kids to equality and the past segregation.
Dec 21, 2016 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Expertly written, richly detailed, intelligent and driven. This book proves that the heavy mantle of racism, that America's brutal racial history inflicts and effects us all. Told from the perspective of two Southern white children, this provides fresh light upon the ongoing struggle against American racism. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!
Taylor Ford
A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulkner was a very clever story, that had a very thick and strong plot. The story begins with two kids who live during the Civil Rights Movements. They live in the countryside of Alabama, and do not know much of what is going on in the world around them. All they know is one of their classmates told them that there was a water fountain in the city that was labeled 'Colored Water' and it only shot out water of different colors. The two kids then have the opportun ...more
Barb Middleton
Feb 26, 2015 Barb Middleton rated it it was amazing
Great last line in this book. The tension is built up as the kids think the water bubbler (drinking fountain) produces flavored water like different flavored popsicles. They don't understand the issues of segregation where African Americans had to use a fountain different than white people and it was labeled "colored." This is a great read aloud that I had to explain because most students don't know the background regarding Jim Crow laws and civil rights. I've been reading these books all year s ...more
Hannah Baumgartner
Mar 17, 2015 Hannah Baumgartner rated it it was amazing
This book was written by Matt Faulkner and he says on the Simon & Schuster website that he wrote this book because of the intolerance that has been and he would have dreamed of what "colored water" would have tasted like as a child. This historical fiction book takes you into the world of a child in the South during the 1960's. Two cousins are desperate to go into the city to taste the colored water after a friend told them that it was there. The cousins thought the civil rights marchers wer ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Josephine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
I heard about this book a few years ago from a co-worker, after a local pharmacist (white) told me a story about traveling to the deep South when he was a child in the 1940s. He'd grown up in Michigan, and this was the first time he'd ever been to a segregated community, and so the first time he'd seen the "colored" designator for water fountains, waiting rooms, and bathrooms. Unlike the kids in this book, he marched into the "colored" bathroom to see what a public bathroom with colored tiles lo ...more
Jul 13, 2014 Kat rated it liked it
This tells an interesting story of segregation and the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of two, young, white children. However, it does not directly explain anything. Instead it reflects an experience the kids might have had - wanting to try colored water because it should taste like different flavors. Witnesses a "parade" of people "singing" and policeman who might have been trying to do the singers a favor by cooling them down - with fire hoses powered to knock them off their feet. I ...more
Mercedes Enciso
Dec 15, 2014 Mercedes Enciso rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 307
Faulkner, M. (2008). A taste of colored water. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

A Taste Of Colored Water is a great, child-friendly book that gives us background information on what life was like for the people who had to live through segregation. This book kind of shows what was happening through the lens of innocent children who did not know what was going on or why there were so many crowds and police. As our instructor read us this book, I thought I was inspiring and ju
My class really enjoyed this read-aloud. I love how the cover image and the title twist the reader's perspective of what colored water would be. The illustrations are key to this book. Often we see the tensions of two worlds on the page spreads: two kids in search of colorful rainbow water juxtaposed against the backdrop of a Civil Rights protest and police brutality. I love how it gives a glimpse of this difficult time in history to children in an appropriate and accessible way. My students wer ...more
Kate Werner
Jun 25, 2014 Kate Werner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, civics
Set in the early 1960's, this book creates an interesting platform to begin discussing civil rights with young children.

Abbey comes home from running errands in the big city with her mom. She came home reporting she had found a sign in town that read, "Colored Water" hanging over a water fountain. Even though Abbey was known for lying, the other kids couldn't help but wonder about this "colored water" in town.

This book is a great way to view the civil rights movement from a children't point of
Oct 03, 2010 Teri rated it really liked it
This story is set in the early 1960s and tells about segregation from the viewpoint of a young white girl, Lulu, who loses her innocence when she confronts the racism toward blacks. Lulu and her cousin, Jelly, grab the chance to make their first trip to the big city because they want to taste the “colored water” people have there. Lulu and Jelly do not understand the scary street demonstrations they see—until they use a drinking fountain and are driven off by a yelling policeman and his vicious ...more
Nov 15, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
The shape & color of the illustrations were brilliant. The first words of the book really draw you in & the entire book is well written. This is not your typical fluffy kids book, though. It delves into the racial discrepancies in US history, having 2 Caucasian children witness a civil rights protest, and be reprimanded for drinking from the "colored" fountain. The ending makes it clear that the children do not comprehend the racial tensions, which makes me wonder how much a young reader ...more
Nov 16, 2014 John added it
Colored Water is a fantastic literary read for all who love equality. In a society that has battled with the inequalities between races, this book puts those difference, or the lack thereof, into perspective. The illustrations alone allow the reader to see the blending of cultures with the artwork blending colors throughout the story.
The story follows to young boys who misunderstand the meaning of "colored water", and instead believe the reference is toward water that is actually colored. The n
Tahya Bruce
Nov 07, 2016 Tahya Bruce rated it it was amazing
This is a perfect book to read for an assignment. When you begin teaching a class about Civil Rights Movement I think this would be a great introduction book. It is a historical fiction picture book and it is written from the viewpoint of innocent children who don't get why things are labeled "colored" and they are confused. I think this would relate because when kids are younger they don't look at skin color differently, but as they get older they start to wonder and questions begin popping up.
Feb 22, 2015 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Summary: A classmate comes back from the big city to tell her cohorts that there are water fountains that shoot colored water! Jelly and Lulu must go see this incredible sights.

Why I Read This: I sat next to Matt Faulker, the author, at a wedding, and this seemed like his book that was most up my alley.

Review: I enjoyed it. It was cute and well done. I think that it captures the innocence of the way that modern children would look at something so odd. But, I have no doubt that white kids at the
Marika Gillis
This was my favorite book about the Civil Rights Movement to read to my students during our recent unit on the topic! Lulu and Jelly are completely awed when a classmate tells them about a “water bubbler” in the big city that has “colored water”. Anticipating flavors like cherry, lemon, orange and apple, the cousins become determined to find a way to the big city to taste the water in this fountain for themselves. To see more of my review to go Get Your Book On
Jun 08, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
"Daddy, what color does a person have to be to get a taste of colored water?"

A tender and sad depiction of a terrible time in our history. Seen through the eyes of children interested in tasting "colored water" (after seeing a sign above a drinking fountain saying "colored".

Althought this is a picture book...beware..
It is geared for older children. I would suggest 6th grade and older.

I would have given this a 5 star rating, but I think some of the photos could have been less frightening (mainly
Sean Kottke
Jul 26, 2013 Sean Kottke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, 2013
Like a lost chapter from To Kill a Mockingbird, this terrific book weaves together a child's wonder with serious political content, and leaves an open ending that can serve as a strong entry point for discussions of the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras. The text could be experienced effectively by itself as a short story, but the gorgeous art work deepens the appeal in both whimsical and serious directions. Essential reading.
May 04, 2008 Shelli rated it liked it
I really think the author did a good job in the afterword portion of the book trying to get across the meaning of what "colored water" ment in the 50's and 60's. The story, however, didn't seem to illustrate the point very well. I would read this book to a class or young adult that has already learned about this period in history to help illustrate what they have learned but not as a means to teach them.
Jul 24, 2010 Erica rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Cousins Lulu and Jelly (8-10 years) hear about a water bubbler (drinking fountain) that has colored water. They manage to get a ride into the big city so they can find the magical water bubbler that has rainbow-colored water and must taste like fruit. Much to their surprise and sadness they wonder just what color does someone have to be to drink from the bubblers. Good intro. to civil rights. Rec for grades 3-7.
Nov 30, 2015 Peacegal rated it liked it
3.5 -- Slice-of-life story from the perspective of two children living in the segregated South, just at the Civil Rights movement began turning things around.

In addition to the grim subject of prejudice and segregation, this book also contains some scary moments (such as when the kids are threatened by an angry police officer with an aggressive dog), so parents/educators will want to discuss these difficult themes beforehand.
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Award winning children’s book author and illustrator Matt Faulkner grew up in a small town just outside of Boston, Ma. Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1983, Matt took a job setting typography in NYC at an ad agency. Boy, was that the wrong job for Matt! Just as the studio manager was about to let him go, the owner of the agency saw the drawings Matt had done on his work t ...more
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