Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Long Walk to Water – Linda Sue Park

Publisher: Sandpiper
Pages: 128 pages
Source:  Purchased
Genre:  Middle Grade, Realistic and Historical Fiction

I love reading books that are based on real events.  This is the story of two people from two different time periods, whose lives cross paths.  The story of these two people is told in alternating chapters.

Sudan has always been a hotbed of controversy and war.  Innocent people are constantly caught in the crossfire.  The majority of them are children.  Salva Dut, eleven years old, is one of those children. They become known as the “Lost Boys”.  It is the 1980’s and he is at school when his village comes under attack.  The teacher hears the gunfire and sends the children running into the forest.  They travel across the desert to a refuge camp in Ethiopia.   After an extended stay they once again cross the desert to Kenya.  Many of them don’t make it.  They die of hunger, animal attacks, and attacks from soldiers.  Once in Kenya Salva begins to learn some English. He is one of many chosen to travel to America to live with an adoptive family.

The other character in this book is Nya and takes place in 2008.  She like many other young people don’t go to school.  She spends her day traveling several hours each way to bring water home to her family.  She must do this in the morning and in the afternoon.  She and Salva both lived in Sudan but in separate tribes that don’t get along.  It is her tribe that attacked his village many years before.

It is after Salva graduates that things in his country are affected by his actions.  He and Nya meet and the reader sees how their paths have crossed and why it is important.  I will be using this book in my classroom this year and I absolutely can’t wait for my students to read it.  This is a must read for anyone interested in learning what happens outside their own home.  It causes us to look at how lucky we are to live here in the United States.

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