Review: Snow in Our Potties! (The Storm Made Us Do It)

New children’s book is a lighthearted memoir of Winter Storm Uri that teaches kids how to help

With the first anniversary of Winter Storm Uri coming up, post-traumatic stress reactions may have some of us anxiously stockpiling supplies and making plans for escape or survival (did you see the crowds at H-E-B last week before the freeze?). But as children's book Snow in Our Potties! (The Storm Made Us Do It) illustrates, our community has a remarkable ability to adapt and help one another, even without the experience of a disaster under our belts.

Written after last year's storm, the clever rhymes by local author Maya Noronha Duff and charming illustrations by Christina Commons tell the story of Duff and her family's experience, with relatable tales of melting snow to use in toilets during days without running water, using a laundry basket as a "Texas sled," and taking time to make treats and snow angels. Duff's three young children, being fans of Little House on the Prairie, were able to relate some of the hardships to those faced by the pioneers.

The book also points out the many ways Texans helped one another, shining light on some of the scary fallouts of the storm, but also on constructive reactions, encouraging children to take action in their own ways to make positive change in their world. Reading the book with your family can help broach a topic that might be tough to revisit or discuss feelings about, and it's important to remember with all the trauma our little ones have faced with the pandemic and then the storm, they might need to talk sometimes.

The most important lesson from the book is gratitude for things taken for granted, which is a message Duff reiterated in a recent conversation with the Chronicle. She shared how, after being without water for several days, her children reacted with joy and wonder at water coming out of the faucet, which is something most of us experience as the norm. It really is kind of a wonder, that water coming out of the faucet, that warm air coming out of the vent, and you don't know what you have till it's gone. That's why a portion of proceeds from book sales goes to local nonprofit Central Texas Food Bank, which provided nearly 54 million meals to the community last year, and to Water Mission, a nonprofit which provides clean water to developing nations and disaster areas. So not only is the book a great way to broach an important topic with your own children, purchases give back to the community.

We can't wait to see what Duff writes about next, but it will surely be as thoughtful, engaging, and creative as her debut.

Snow in Our Potties! (The Storm Made Us Do It)

by Maya Noronha Duff, illustrated by Christina Commons
32pp, Softcover $12.99, Hardcover $19.99
Available at BookPeople (603 N. Lamar;, or find a list of online bookstores via

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Snow in Our Potties, Maya Noronha Duff, Christina Commons, Winter Storm Uri, Children's Books

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