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Children's Fiction Caribbean & Latin America

Anna Carries Water

by (author) Olive Senior

illustrated by Laura James

Tradewind Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2013
Caribbean & Latin America, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Values & Virtues
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k


Anna fetches water from the spring every day, but she can't carry it on her head like her older brothers and sisters. In this charming and poetic family story set in Jamaica, Commonwealth Prize-winning author Olive Senior shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.

About the authors

Olive Senior was born in Jamaica in 1941. She lives both there and in Canada. Her first collection of short stories, Summer Lightning (1986), won the Commonwealth Literature Prize. She has published two subsequent collections of short stories, The Arrival of the Snake Woman (1989) and The Discerner of Hearts (1995). She has two collections of poems, Talking of Trees (1985) and Gardening in the Tropics (1995). She has written on different aspects of Caribbean culture and was editor of Jamaica Journal.

Olive Senior's profile page

Laura James is an author, journalist, food writer, and magazine editor. Her writing has appeared in national newspapers and magazines. She lives in England.

Laura James' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This is a gentle story about growing up. Anna's goal is simple, but the text doesn't trivialize her frustration at not being able to carry water the "grown-up" way. Senior's use of repetition keeps the narrative bouncing along and, though the solution comes a bit suddenly, the ending will encourage young readers who are struggling with similar frustrations and fears. New York artist Laura James's stunning illustrations, which include detailed backgrounds complete with vibrant birds, animals, and plants, capture the beauty and colour of the Jamaican landscape, as well as the warmth of Anna's family. We see the climax of Anna's arrival home just as she does, with her whole family smiling in amazement and joyfully welcoming her. Anna's triumph will delight young readers."
Quill & Quire

Librarian Reviews

Anna Carries Water

This charming and poetic family story set in Jamaica shows young readers the power of determination, as Anna achieves her goal and overcomes her fear.

This book will help students learn about a part of the world very different from their own, where children of the world are given the responsibility of carrying water to their family homes. Each of the illustrations in this book tells a story, conveys emotions, and provides tools for understanding community and culture and relationships among family and neighbours. For character education, this is a story of perseverance, responsibility and teamwork.

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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