Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Anna Carries Water

Senior, Olive (Author)
James, Laura (Illustrator)
Tradewind Books 2014. 40 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781896580609 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Anna lives in Jamaica with her large family “way out in the countryside.” And “their water did not come from a tap.” She wants more than anything to be able to carry water on her head, as effortlessly as her older brothers and sisters do. After school every day, they all go to the spring to fill up their containers with water for cooking, drinking, washing and cleaning. Her mother assures Anna that her water-carrying skills will come in good time. Anna is always afraid of the cows in the field they pass on the walk, and one day, when she falls too far behind, she is so scared that she runs—with the container on her head—all the way home, not spilling a drop.

Lush acrylic paintings sweep across the oversized pages in brilliant colours, depicting the Jamaican countryside and rural life. Animals, birds, lizards and butterflies abound; green hills, and palm and coconut trees add to the exotic setting. Lots of storytelling details are found in the pictures: Anna’s sister reading as she balances a jug on her head, the Jamaican flag on a local shop.

Text uses repetition to highlight Anna’s struggle; simple language allows readers to empathize with the little girl’s frustrations. Later, to celebrate her triumph: “She turned cartwheels with happiness. She didn’t feel frightened of anything.”

Beautiful read-aloud about the importance of water and the yearning to grow up.

  •  

    Think of things you have learned to do. What did it take to learn these skills? Brainstorm things you want to learn in the future. What will you need to do to acquire these new skills? As you read, compare Anna’s learning process with your own.

  •  Why is it so important to Anna to learn to carry water?
  •  

    Look at the details in the illustrations. How is the setting the same as or different from where you live?

  •  

    Choose one of the scenes and write speech or thought bubbles for Anna.

  •  Discuss how or why this book changes your appreciation for having running water.
  •  

    Discuss the cover illustration. Do you have to carry water? How is that so?

  •  

    In this family, everyone’s chores include carrying water. Discuss and list your chores at home and at school. Why are they an important part of family and community life?

  •  

    Discuss how water gets to your home. What do you use it for? Use a teacher-selected tool to help you calculate your family's daily or weekly water consumption. How about at school? Produce a water use report and compare it to Anna’s family's usage. Determine ways to make better use of the available water supply.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology