Linda Sue Park
Houghton Mifflin Harcourts
Ages 10 - 14
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
Powerful! This very slim tale is deceptively short, but within its covers are two interwoven stories that brought tears to my eyes. The true journey of Salva, a 1985 Sudanese refugee, is masterfully woven into the tale of Nya, a villager in modern-day Sudan who must spend her days walking the long distance to a muddy lake to draw water for her family to drink. This daily trek prevents her from going to school or doing anything most children her age in other parts of the world would do. But the end, how Salva and Nya's stories come together is so inspiring. It is amazing how one person can quite literally change the world for the better.
The author, Newbery award winning Linda Sue Park, gave a Ted-Talk about this book. I encourage you to watch it, and then share both the video and the book with any and every young reader you can. It's a great way to open the world to our children and to teach them that even they can make a difference.