Book Review: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water is based on the true story of Salva, whom we begin following in 1985 as he flees his village in Sudan because of the ongoing war. Separated from his family, Salva is forced to trek through perilous conditions as he first travels to the refugee camp in Ethiopia, then Kenya, and beyond. Along the way he lives mostly alone, and witnesses multiple tragedies.  Through all his suffering, Salva remains strong, courageous, and hopeful - it was impossible for me to read this story without becoming emotionally tied to Salva's fate.

Running parallel to Salva's story, yet beginning in 2008, is the fictional account of a girl in a Sudanese village that still faces many of the sames threats that Salva faced as a child. As we get to know Nya, we learn of the difficulties of living in a desert area with no access to nearby clean water. Hey story, though shown in smaller flashes than Salva's, is just as gripping.

Unfortunately, one of the harshest elements of the story -- Salva's year and a half long journey through the desert to Kenya, is rushed, and we don't get a true sense of his hardships as he lead other "Lost Boys" to their next refugee camp.

This book has a strong message and is a fabulous addition to any classroom library.  I am looking forward to purchasing a copy for myself. The opportunity to teach about culture, resources, and even human kindness is ample through Park's well-told story.

Review copy read on NetGalley

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