When Derya moves from Turkey to New Zealand her family brings with them a family heirloom, an old water bottle. The bottle unsettles Freya because it triggers nightmares in her.
On her first day at school Derya meets Tom. They discover that that both have relatives who fought at Gallipolli in the war but on opposite sides. Together they learn about war and humanity and the story behind the water bottle.
Philippa Werry has an amazing way of sharing stories about the war to younger readers. This story lends itself to be shared and discussed. It doesn’t shy away from the gravity of war, dwell on it or gloss over it but it does acknowledge two forces fighting the same fight. The introduction of some Turkish language adds authenticity and interest and is a clever reminder that there are two cultures represented.
The illustrations by Turkish illustrator Burak Akbay complement the switches between the present and the past within the text. She uses darker colour palette for the war and seldom shows facial features of the soldiers as contrasted with the characters of the story in the present where we can see their faces and the emotion expressed cleverly bringing the reader back to the story of Derya.
Title: The Water Bottle
Author: Philippa Werry
Illustrator: Burak Akbay
Publisher: Oratia Books
ISBN: 978 199 0042157
Publication: April 2022
Would this book work as a read aloud? Yes
Reviewer: Elaine Wills, Library manager, Enner Glynn School, Nelson
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommend
Opening sentence: My Name Is Derya. I am from Türkiye, but now I live in New Zealand.
You can buy this book here