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The River That Gave Gifts

The River That Gave Gifts
Margo Humphrey By (author)
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Lee & Low Books

Limited ***

9.2 X 9.8 in
24 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
JUVENILE FICTION / Imagination & Play
JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic


Yanava and her friends want to make gifts for Neema, the wise woman who looks after them, before her eyesight worsens. Each of Yanava's friends crafts a handmade object for Neema. Yanava is creative and thoughtful, but she isn't crafty like her friends. She sits by the river and thinks aloud about what kind of gift Neema truly needs. Soon Yanava hears the river whispering to her, instructing her to take its water into her hands.

Yanava complies and finds that by washing her hands in the river, she is able to emit a rainbow of light from her fingers! The wise river has answered her questions by revealing Yanava's gift of light.

The time comes for the children to present their gifts. Yanava's friends offer their handmade presents to Neema, who is thankful to receive them but unable to fully appreciate the gifts because her vision is poor and the room is dim. After waiting patiently, Yanava reveals her gift by rinsing her hands in a jar of river water and casting vibrant colors of light from her fingers. With the room brightly lit, Neema can finally see all of her thoughtful presents from the children, including Yanava's special gift!

Margo Humphrey combines her many storytelling talents to present young readers with a unique tale about the power of thoughtfulness and the light that shines when we care for others.


". . . the drawings convey a folk art warmth compatible with the books' ethnic subjects. These will be useful for children in bilingual families and will give readers a peek at cultures other than their own." —Publishers WeeklyPublishers Weekly

"This picture story . . . emphasizes respect for the elderly and the value of imagination. . . . The bold and brightly colored illustrations tell the story as much as the text, which is easy for beginning readers to read and understand." —School Library JournalSchool Library Journal

Author Bio

Margo Humphrey was born in Oakland, California, where she studied art and printmaking at the California College of the Arts. After earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking at Stanford University, Humphrey traveled and taught in several countries in Europe and Africa.