Nibi's Water Song

By Booklist

Young Nibi is thirsty, but her tap water is brown, as is her neighbor's and the nearby river water. She travels to a town of big houses, where a woman offers her one small bottle of water, refusing subsequent requests. Finally, Nibi and her friends begin a protest, which leads to government petitions and, eventually, clean water for their community. Tenasco, who hails from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, a reservation near Ottawa, Ontario, depicts the plight of at least 39 Canadian First Nations that are currently living under long-term water advisories, some since 1995. In Nibi's case, clean water efforts are successful, although appended author and illustrator notes point out that this is not always the case. Chief Lady Bird's full-color digital artwork includes many Woodlands-style fish and floral motifs, making it clear this is an Indigenous community, although the text does not identify it as such. Particularly effective are the floral elements, depicted with stems that connect all the living things. A good introduction to this under-reported injustice.