A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

by Christine Ieronimo

Other authorsEric Velasquez (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2014

Call number



Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu. She becomes Eva in her new home in America, and although her life there is better in so many ways, she'll never forget her homeland and the mother who gave up so much for her. Told through the lens that water connects all people everywhere, this eye-opening, emotional story will get readers thinking about the world beyond their own.

This item was purchased with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon. Institute of Museum and Library Services: http://www.imls.gov



Bloomsbury USA Childrens (2014), 32 pages

User reviews

LibraryThing member xliao
A story about the love of a mother, she use her way to love her children, and be with the children by a very special way.
LibraryThing member nbmars
This is the story of a young girl from Ethiopia named Alemitu, which means world. Her mother, Emaye, can no longer feed her, and sends her to the United States for adoption, but not before telling her she will love her forever.

Alemitu’s American mother is a loving woman who is “the color of the
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moon” and the girl feels safe again. She is given the name Eva, which means life. In America she also acquires a sister, two brothers, a dad, and a dog.

In her new home, water is plentiful, unlike it was in Ethiopia, and Eva wishes she could show her birth mother. When she hears raindrops, she remembers what Emaye told her:

"All over the world, the clouds make the rain and the rain brings us our water. This connects us to everyone and everywhere. Water is life.”

The next morning after the rain, Eva looks into a puddle and sees an image of her Emaye smiling:

"The water has connected my two worlds, and I know who I am.”

At the end of the story, an author’s note explains that in Ethiopia, 65 percent of the population lives without access to clean, safe drinking water. In many places, women and girls travel miles each way to retrieve water from dirty and contaminated watering holes. The author provides websites for interested readers to learn more about the problems of dirty drinking water, and how to help.

Discussion: The author herself adopted a girl from Ethiopia, and she has traveled back to Ethiopia several times to see the mother and give her news of her daughter (also named Eva). But in the book, we don’t know if Eva ever sees her mother again, or even what becomes of her mother. In fact, we only assume that Eva was taken to an adoption agency in the first place; it isn’t actually mentioned in the book. In addition, the author never explains why there is no choice but for the mother to send Eva away, or how Eva feels about it. And while Eva does think about her mother here and there, she adjusts amazingly quickly and well to her new life. I would definitely want to know what happens to the mother, who is portrayed so sympathetically but is then summarily dismissed in favor of showing all the riches of Eva’s new life.

The oils by Eric Velasquez are soft and lush, skillfully employing selective colors to convey the parched landscape of Ethiopia versus the greens and blues of the girl’s new home in America.

Evaluation: As long as an adult is available to fill in the gaps in the story, this book could be soothing to children who have had to leave their original homes. It also alerts kids in the U.S. that not all countries are as blessed in even the basics, like food and water.
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LibraryThing member mhilary
This book brought to tears to my eyes. It's a wonderful story that talks about the struggles of others, especially women, in undeveloped countries. Water is life and for some each day is a quest to find that life.
LibraryThing member Khammersla
When I first started this book I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it, I was mistaken. The first thing that drew me in about the book was the illustrations. They are all so vivid and clear. In one of the first pages the main character is looking at her reflection in a body of water and you can
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see all of the movement of the water. Also on another page the mom is crying and the tears running down her face are so prominent. The powerful message that these illustrations are able to evoke really help the reader to get the message of the book.
I also really liked how the book splits who the main character was both before and after she got adopted. It made her story clear and easy to follow. This also really helps the reader make a personal connection with the story because they are able to see where she came from and what her life was like before she was adopted and how great and happy she is with her new family when she becomes adopted
Another reason I really loved this book was because it gave the reader a lot of information about Ethiopia. It showed them how harder it is to live there and what the conditions really are. It showed the main character going to the watering hole with her mother and carrying the water on their heads. It also showed you the woven mattress that her an her mother how to sleep on. These key details that ere included really help to play on the emotions of the reader and help them connect to the story. The main idea was also very clear, that adoption can be beneficial and people are able become a part of a new family and flourish.
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LibraryThing member LBraaten
Awareness of the lack of water and hunger in other parts of the world. I like how it connects with the adoption theme.
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A well-meaning story but one I find troubling for a couple of reasons. First, a mother has to give up her daughter for adoption because she cannot provide her with basic necessities. Perhaps it is a realistic scenario but couldn't the author come up with some sort of resolution that keeps the
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mother and daughter together? I guess I've grown tired of seeing stories where impoverished African children have to be "saved" with adoption by white westerners. This would be more palatable if the child were an orphan but she's not. Another problem I have is that once the child goes to her adoptive country she apparently has no further thoughts of the mother she left behind. That left me cold.
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0802723071 / 9780802723079


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