Melanie Crowder is a ceramist, painter, and sculptor who received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She lives in the foothills of the Rockies. Her debut novel Parched released on June 4, 2013 with a splash. Crowder shares with us a list of books that will get children and teens talking about water.
My first novel released two weeks ago and I am basking in the glow of early reviews and reader reactions. It’s an exciting, affirming time that only happens once in an author’s career and I’m determined to pause and take in all of the firsts as they happen: first letter from a reader, first review in the Wall Street Journal, first book signing, etc.
But like many works of fiction, Parched has a deeper current connecting it to our world today. As you may guess from the title, I’m talking about water. In the interviews and conversations with readers leading up to my book release, I found myself talking about water (how we think about it and use it) at least as much as I talked about the craft of writing and the process of publishing.
The United Nations has declared 2013 to be The International Year of Water Cooperation. (Learn more about their efforts here: http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/en/.) I think the world’s water crisis must be in the zeitgeist, because several writers have found inspiration in the topic in recent years and produced some really great stories!
So here is a list of three books that will have young readers thinking. I know that, in writing Parched, my perspective shifted and I came to think about water, and how I use it every day, a little differently. And what better way to get the conversation started than with a great book?
All the Water in the World
By George Ella Lyon; Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
Faucet / well / raincloud / sea …
from each of these / comes water.
But where does / Water go?
To find out, honey, / turn the page,
dive in / with tongue / or toes,
with eyes and ears and nose—
and wonder / at the flow / of this great world’s / life story.
Ages 4 & up | Publisher: Atheneum/ Richard Jackson Books | March 22, 2011
A Long Walk to Water
Nya goes to the pond to fetch water for her family. She walks eight hours every day. Salva walks away from his war-torn village. He is a “lost boy” refugee, destined to cover Africa on foot, searching for his family and safety. Two young people . . . two stories. One country: Sudan.
This mesmerizing dual narrative follows two threads—one unfolding in 2008 and one in 1985—with one hopeful message: that even in a troubled country, determined survivors may find the future they are hoping for.
Ages 10 & up | Publisher: Clarion Books | Nov. 15, 2010
Not a Drop to Drink
Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty or doesn’t leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, the nighttime threats, and the gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it.
Ages 14 & up| Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | Sept. 4, 2013
About Melanie Crowder’s Book
In this haunting, lyrical novel told from three perspectives, Sarel has just witnessed the death of her parents. But she is not completely alone on the drought-ridden land. Nandi is the leader of a pack of dogs who looks out for her pups and for skinny Sarel-girl. Nandi knows they are all in trouble, and she knows, too, that a boy is coming—an escaped prisoner with the water song inside him. A hard-hitting but ultimately hopeful survival story.
Ages 10 & up | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | June 4, 2013
Learn more about Melanie on her website: www.melaniecrowder.net
I love the book “All the Water in the World” and have used it in numerous storytimes including this one most recently: http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2013/12/pre-school-storytime-its-raining-its.html