Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Long Walk to Water

The year is 1985. The country is Sudan. Eleven-year-old Salva is forced to leave his village due to the war going on. He does not know whether he will ever see his family again, but has come to accept that they are probably dead. He walks and walks with other refugees across the war-torn country, rows home-made boats across the Nile, and walks and walks some more across a desert until he reaches a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He experiences and witnesses terrible horrors, but never loses hope.

The year is 2008. The country is still Sudan. Eleven-year-old Nya walks and walks every day to get water for her family. Three trips a day to the pond which is miles away from her village and eventually dries up so that every year her family then has to camp by a lake that is days away from their village. The only reason they don't permanently stay by the lake is because it is too dangerous because of the war.

The lives of Salva and Nya eventually intersect. Little did Salva know when he was Nya's age that he would do so much for his war-torn yet beloved country years after he left Sudan for the United States.

Linda Sue Park, author of Newbery Award winner A Single Shard, wrote A Long Walk to Water, based on the life of Salva Dut. It is a heartrending story about hope, at times difficult to read because of the horrific events the reader experiences with Salva. Recommended for 4th grade and above. Parents, this is a good book to share with your child and will open up a discussion about the horrors of war.

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