TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Alice B. McGinty

Alice B. McGinty on The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

In this post, we feature author Alice B. McGinty, whose previous titles include The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney. You can hear her speak about her new picture book, The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation, and try her “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!


Author Alice McGinty and the cover of her book The Water Lady.

The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

  • Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Shonto Begay
  • Published by Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books
  • Release date: March 30, 2021

Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family’s barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop—nothing. He walks down the road to the horses’ watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody’s family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.

An interior image from The Water Lady, by Alice McGinty and Shanto Begay, showing a Navajo boy standing in his desert landscape and cheering when he sees a schoolbus carrying water to his home.
An interior image from The Water Lady, by Alice McGinty and Shanto Begay, showing a Navajo boy standing helping to fill water tanks at his home.

Explore The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

Listen to Alice B. McGinty talking with TeachingBooks about creating The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.


Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Alice B. McGinty.

Imagination Activity with Alice B. McGinty

I see Darlene Arviso as a hero – a humble hero. What makes somebody a hero? Write a story about a humble hero.

Finish This Sentence . . . with Alice B. McGinty

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Alice B. McGinty’s response.

“While working on this book, I was surprised to learn that . . .”

While working on this latest project, I was surprised to learn that there are so many people without running water, and even electricity, living on the Navajo Nation. To help, I’m donating 20% of the money I make from the sales of The Water Lady to the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission’s water delivery project, which provides the water tower and the tanker truck for Darlene Arviso’s route.

“I hope my book encourages kids to think about . . .”

 I hope that my book may encourage kids to think about how they can be of help to the people in their communities, like Darlene is to those in her community.   


Thank you!

To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Alice B. McGinty for signing a book for all of us.

 title page of The Water Lady, signed by the author, Alice B. McGinty.

More Connections to Alice B. McGinty and The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation


Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

Author photo is by Jon Dessen. All other text and images are courtesy of Alice B. McGinty, Shonto Begay, and Random House Children’s Books and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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