A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (2010)

There is no one left to help me.  They think I am weak and useless. Salva lifted his head proudly.  They are wrong, and I will prove it.” (p. 66)

We’ve heard that clean water can change lives in developing countries.  It’s a difficult thing to imagine, given our access to all the water we could ever want.  In A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park takes us to Sudan to bring this message home in a powerful way.

2008.  Nya must walk for eight hours every day, for seven months out of the year to fetch drinking water for her family.  It’s not always clean and sometimes it makes people sick.  When a team of workers tells her small village there is water buried deep beneath the ground they’ve been living on, it changes Nya’s life in ways she can’t even begin to imagine.

1985-2006.  Salva Dut is 11-years-old when he is forced to flee into the bush as the civil war in Sudan reaches his home in Loun-Ariik.  His trek from his home in Sudan across the Nile, through the desert and to Ethopian and Kenyan refugee camps spans years and is full of peril, danger, and heartache.  Yet, despite the hopelessness of his situation, Salva displays incredible bravery and perseverance. His mantra of facing just one day, one moment at a time allowed him to surmount incredible obstacles and achieve amazing success.

Don’t let the slimness of this volume fool you; Park’s sparse, matter-of-fact writing will sneak up and into your heart before you even realize it.  Salva’s story will stick with me for a long time.

See Nicki’s review.

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