A Long Walk to Water

Linda Sue Park's engaging story, A Long Walk to Water, is based on real-life experiences during two different decades in Southern Sudan. In 1985, young Salva is forced to flee from his village to escape civil war. He makes a dangerous trek to uncertain safety in Kenya, along the way facing hunger and violence from cruel soldiers. Other refugees have doubts that such a young boy is anything more than a burden. Salva’s perseverance over hardship and eventual travel to America as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan makes for inspirational reading.

The story of Nya, another Sudanese youngster, takes place in 2008 and is interwoven throughout Salva's story. Nya makes an eight-hour daily trip to and from a pond that is her family's only source of water. When the pond is found to be contaminated, the village begins the project of digging a well. Physical and financial obstacles, as well as the doubts of the villagers, must be overcome for the project to succeed.

Park's terse but beautiful prose and powerful socially-conscious message in A Long Walk to Water will resonate with both children and adults.