When THE WATER PRINCESS begins, an 11-year-old girl named Casey is going camping with her dad outside of Los Angeles. They are seeking the Ventana Trail, specifically La Ventana, the carved-out mountain “window” that looks into the Salinas Valley. Casey’s dad takes her to this special place to tell her a story about the Water Princess, a Native American girl of the Salinan tribe who finds a new water source for her people.
Switching between Casey and her dad and the water princess and her dad, this story is more than a Native American legend about La Ventana and one of the most recognizable constellations dotting the night sky. It emphasizes the father-daughter bond, as well as the importance of water conservation. As the world’s most precious resource, teaching children about why water matters is more essential than ever. The story makes subtle references to what happens when humans exhaust water as well as food sources. For example, the water princess and her father talk about the lack of pimkolam, an herb for enhancing food flavors and healing illnesses, in addition to their problems finding water.
THE WATER PRINCESS is also a story of courage against seemingly-impossible odds. The Native American girl is determined to save her people and steps out of her elder’s shadow to do what she knows in her heart is right. She trusts herself and has faith that her actions will provide her family and everyone else in her tribe with what they need to survive. It takes a lot to believe in the self when the chances of success appear low and or naysayers attempt to squash beliefs. And while the water princess has a support system in the form of her father, their/her idea for bringing water to the tribe seems inconceivable. Yet her unwavering faith provides the drive that casts any doubt aside.
THE WATER PRINCESS–a book ideal for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders–provides a new twist on a Native American legend, while pressing the importance of water conservation and self assurance, offering a multi-themed story perfect for discussion at home or in the classroom.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader