This moving account of one boy’s escape from the Sudanese war and subsequent survival begins in 1985 and is based on a true story. Intertwined with a second story set in 2008-9 where young Nya is unable to attend school as it is her daily task to collect water for the family, Salva’s story begins in 1985 and ends with meeting and helping Nya and her whole community.
An incredible 11 year journey of survival ensues as Salva flees from both rebels and government forces waging war on the largest African country. Frightened and alone, will Salva ever see his family again? Crossing three countries on foot, Salva’s resilience and strength grows as he does, from a frightened 11 year old boy, to a man who becomes a leader and a visionary.
Although simply told, A long walk to water is a powerful book: a high interest but easy to read story that will resonate with readers and stay with them long after the last page has been turned.
Although recommended for ages 9+, A long walk to water is a harrowing but engaging read that I believe would be more fruitful for readers aged 12-13. What readers will find most amazing is that Salva’s story is true. Their empathy for someone of their own age facing such a disaster will assure engagement with the text.
Author Linda Sue Park is a Newbery medalist. Her website is http://www.lspark.com
See also: http://www.waterforsudan.org
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of A long walk to water by Linda Sue Park free of charge by the publishers.