Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Book Jacket

Nya is going to the pond to fetch water for her family--there and back, twice.  She walks for eight hours every day.

Salva is walking away from his ruined village to find safety--if there is any safety in his war-torn homeland.  His journey across Africa to Ethiopia and then to Kenya and beyond will take many years.

Two young people...two stories.

One country: Sudan.

This mesmerizing dual narrative by Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park shows us that in a troubled country, determined survivors may find the future they are hoping for.


A Long Walk to Water is deceptively simple.  It is short and its words are direct and elementary.  But the story told within its pages will grip your heart.  The complexity of many African country's problems is laid out plainly.  War and corrupt governments and disease all stem from a lack of basic necessities: namely, water. 

When your only water source is miles away, all children cannot attend school to get the education they deserve.  When your only water source is limited, feuds and deadly battles are fought for the right not to die of thirst.  When your only water source is muddy and contaminated, diseases run rampant.  And when your only medical source is hundreds of miles away, people die.

The dual stories complement each other wonderfully, and despite all the bleak and horrific events, this book manages to end with an optimistic view of the future.  A future that we, you and I, can be a part of.  Building wells will not solve all of Africa's problems.  But it can do a lot to freeing up people's time and energy that they normally exert on simply surviving.

If you are interested in donating money to organizations that drill wells in Africa, these are two that I have supported in the past (Blood Water Mission and WorldVision).

Five out of five cups of water.

Release Date:  November 2010
Reading Level:  Grade 6+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL PAR

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of A Long Walk to Water:

Murdoch's Musings
Bookish Blather

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