A Long Walk to Water
Based on a true story, this book relays the moving experiences of Salva Dut; one of thousands of boys orphaned by the fighting in the country of Sudan in Africa during the 1980s and 90s. Known as the ‘Lost Boys,’ these young men walked through some of the worst conditions on Earth in order to find safe haven in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya. On the day the fighting comes to the village where he goes to school, Salva is told by his teacher to run and not look back. Not knowing if he’ll ever see his family again, Salva does as he’s told and runs, eventually joining a group of other displaced Sudanese fleeing the war. With no food, almost no water, and only the flimsy clothes on his back Salva begins the grueling task of crossing the Nile in a man-made boat, then walking for three days across the desert until finally finding sanctuary in a filthy, overcrowded refugee camp where he will stay for years. But this book is more than the story of Salva’s survival. It is also the story of Nya, a young African girl living in modern-day Sudan, who must walk for miles and miles each and every day to gather water for her family. For eight hours everyday she walks to and from the nearest pond just so her family can have water to drink and cook with, even if the water is brown with mud and even if it is known to cause illness. As horrible as the lives of Nya and Salva may sound to us, though, the story of how their fates eventually collide is so full of inspiration and redemption that you will not finish it feeling sad but full of hope. A highly recommended read!
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Librarian Book Talk: A Long Walk to Water
A children's librarian at The Seattle Public Library tells you a bit about "A Long Walk to Water," one of our 2013 Global Reading Challenge books.