The Water Lady

How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

Illustrated by Shonto Begay
Look inside
This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day.

Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody's family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.
Descended from a line of medicine men, SHONTO BEGAY was born and raised in the Navajo Nation community of Shonto, Arizona. He has written, illustrated, or edited more than a dozen books, and his award-winning artwork has been collected worldwide. View titles by Shonto Begay

Educator Guide for The Water Lady

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

  • SELECTION | 2022
    ALA Notable Children's Book
  • SELECTION | 2022
    CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Readers
  • SELECTION | 2021
    Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
Praise for The Water Lady:

“This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

McGinty’s storytelling, peppered with Navajo phrases and cultural cues, provides a balanced view of this life and through Cody’s perspective, just enough suspense.” —School Library Journal, starred review
 
"[An] illuminating story about a contemporary child’s experience with water insecurity, set in the Navajo Nation.” —The Horn Book

“Navajo artist Begay’s vibrant ink and watercolor art brings a stirring emotional undercurrent to this community-oriented narrative.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Alice McGinty's The Girl Who Named Pluto:

"An inspiring and beautifully illustrated tale made all the better by its historical foundation." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

About

This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day.

Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody's family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.

Author

Descended from a line of medicine men, SHONTO BEGAY was born and raised in the Navajo Nation community of Shonto, Arizona. He has written, illustrated, or edited more than a dozen books, and his award-winning artwork has been collected worldwide. View titles by Shonto Begay

Guides

Educator Guide for The Water Lady

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Awards

  • SELECTION | 2022
    ALA Notable Children's Book
  • SELECTION | 2022
    CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young Readers
  • SELECTION | 2021
    Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices

Praise

Praise for The Water Lady:

“This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

McGinty’s storytelling, peppered with Navajo phrases and cultural cues, provides a balanced view of this life and through Cody’s perspective, just enough suspense.” —School Library Journal, starred review
 
"[An] illuminating story about a contemporary child’s experience with water insecurity, set in the Navajo Nation.” —The Horn Book

“Navajo artist Begay’s vibrant ink and watercolor art brings a stirring emotional undercurrent to this community-oriented narrative.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Alice McGinty's The Girl Who Named Pluto:

"An inspiring and beautifully illustrated tale made all the better by its historical foundation." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

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