It is always a happy time when a new book is finally out in the world. Books begin with a story idea and the author and illustrator’s dreams of what it will become. Today I am sharing a beautiful story of children who have their own dream written and illustrated by fellow The Kid Lit Crew mates.
WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A Story of Refugee Children
By Janie Reinart (author) and Morgan Taylor (illustrator)
Blue Whale Press: 2021
Picture book ages 4-9
Setting: Bidibidi Refugee Camp in Uganda
Themes: Refugee children, toys, hope
The story begins…
little sister and me,
but our dreams.
Two sisters have escaped war in their South Sudan homeland and live in a refugee camp in Uganda. They have nothing but the clothes on their back and the older sister wants to bring back her sister’s smile. She does this by creating something from nothing with found objects such as a stick, a pebble, a bag and cardboard. But none of these things last until she creates a doll from mud. Together the sisters create more toys as they dream of their future.
Why you need to add WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A Story of Refugee Children to your book shelves:
- This book depicts a difficult situation with beauty and grace. The children are portrayed with dignity and their creative ingenuity is celebrated. Resilience is shown in the midst of hardship.
- Causes of people fleeing their homelands is a difficult subject for children to understand. In this thoughtful picture book, children can see how others live and the hope that sustains them. They will also see how all children like to play and that it is possible to be creative in the midst of difficult situations.
- Janie Reinart’s lyrical text flows through each page creating a poem that is perfect to read aloud. She uses wonderful examples of similes and luscious language as in “A chuckle catapults from my sister like a grasshopper.
- The stunning art was well researched by illustrator Morgan Taylor. The vibrant colors and expressions of the children convey deep emotions from sorrow to joy.
- There are so many ways that this book can be shared with students. Challenge them to create a toy from found objects.
- Finally, the publisher’s profits are being donated to UNICEF
To see the toys created by children of the Bidibidi Refugee Camp like those featured in WHEN WATER MAKES MUD: A Story of Refugee Children take a look at this National Geographic photo-essay
Click here to read Janie’s interview with Morgan and learn about the book’s illustration process.
Visit Janie Reinart’s website
Visit Morgan Taylor’s website
For a fun art activity, try this recipe for Mud Paint. You will need to pour in the water a little at a time until you get the right consistency. Paint on thick paper or cardstock.