A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

4.5 164
by Linda Sue Park
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Newbery Medalist Park's (The Single Shard) spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan--one an 11-year-old Lost Boy, Salva, who fled in 1985 and later immigrated to the United States, and 11-year-old Nya, who collects water for her village in 2008. Park employs well-chosen details and a highly atmospheric setting to underscore both children's struggles to survive. Salva's journey is tragic and harrowing, as he's driven by attacking soldiers and braves hunger, shifting alliances among refugees, and the losses of a friend to a lion attack and his uncle to violent marauders. "The days became a never-ending walk," he reflects. Salva's narrative spans 23 years and highlights myriad hardships but not without hope, as he withstands the deprivations of refugee camps, leads 1,200 boys to Kenya, and eventually gains sanctuary in Rochester, N.Y., where he still lives (he also contributes an afterword). Briefer entries about Nya preface chapters about Salva, illustrating the daily realities and sacrifices of modern-day life in Sudan. The eventual connection of Salva and Nya's stories offers the promise of redemption and healing. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But [this] spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. . . . Young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax."  —Booklist, starred review

"[This] spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan. . . . Tragic and harrowing."— Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope."—School Library Journal, starred review

"This powerful dual narrative packs suspense and introspection into Park's characteristic spare description; while there are lots of details offered to the reader, they come not in long, prosaic lines but in simple, detached observations. Both Salva's and Nya's stories are told with brutal, simple honesty, and they deliver remarkable perspective on the Sudanese conflict. The novel's brevity and factual basis makes the reality of life in Sudan very accessible, and readers will find both the story and the style extremely moving."—The Bulletin

"Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape. . . . A heartfelt account."—Kirkus Reviews

"Brilliant. . . . A touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see."— Book Page

"Riveting."—The Horn Book

"[A] fast, page-turning read. . . . A great book for high school students and an important novel for young adults who enjoy learning about other world cultures."—VOYA

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Salva and Nya have difficult paths to walk in life. Salva's journey, based on a true story, begins in 1985 with an explosion. The boy's small village in Sudan erupts into chaos while the 11-year-old is in school, and the teacher tells the children to run away. Salva leaves his family and all that is familiar and begins to walk. Sometimes he walks alone and sometimes there are others. They are walking toward a refugee camp in Ethiopia, toward perceived safety. However, the camp provides only temporary shelter from the violent political storm. In 1991-'92, thousands are killed as they try to cross a crocodile-infested river when they are forced out of the country; Salva survives and gets 1200 boys to safety in Kenya. Nya's life in 2008 revolves around water. She spends eight hours a day walking to and from a pond. In the dry season, her family must uproot themselves and relocate to the dry lake bed where they dig in the mud until water eventually trickles out. Nya's narrative frames Salva's journey from Sudan to Ethiopia to Rochester, NY, and, eventually, back to Sudan. Both story lines are spare, offering only pertinent details. In the case of Salva, six years in a camp pass by with the barest of mentions. This minimalism streamlines the plot, providing a clarity that could have easily become mired in depressing particulars. The two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope.—Naphtali L. Faris, Saint Louis Public Library, MO

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547532844
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/15/2010
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
13,804
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But [this] spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. . . . Young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax."—Booklist, starred review

"[This] spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan. . . . Tragic and harrowing."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope."—School Library Journal, starred review

"This powerful dual narrative packs suspense and introspection into Park's characteristic spare description; while there are lots of details offered to the reader, they come not in long, prosaic lines but in simple, detached observations. Both Salva's and Nya's stories are told with brutal, simple honesty, and they deliver remarkable perspective on the Sudanese conflict. The novel's brevity and factual basis makes the reality of life in Sudan very accessible, and readers will find both the story and the style extremely moving."—The Bulletin

"Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape. . . . A heartfelt account."—Kirkus Reviews

"Brilliant. . . . A touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see."—BookPage

"Riveting."—The Horn Book

"[A] fast, page-turning read. . . . A great book for high school students and an important novel for young adults who enjoy learning about other world cultures."—VOYA

Meet the Author

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard and bestseller A Long Walk to Water. She has written several acclaimed picture book texts. She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family. For more information visit www.lspark.com.


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A Long Walk to Water 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 164 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing with a little vilonce in it. Most events in the book did happen. This book is told by two people from diffrent times ( years ) and in the end meet up. This was a GREAT book!!!!! READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!
librario More than 1 year ago
Powerful novel. A real page turner. Quick read. Loved the parallel stories. Park may, indeed, be recognized for this important work. A great addition to your library collection.
Jack Norcross More than 1 year ago
The author did a great job with putting it all together and tell the story. It is a very emotional book. Great non fiction read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutly loved it. Along walk to water is a personal favorite of mine and i hope to read more booksby Linda Sue Park.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is less than 100 pages yes but is very interesting and i recomend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A quick read that gives young teens an idea of what it was like in Sudan, and what happened to bring so many to the U.S. Unbiased!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is helpful, because it describe about how Africa life are shows about the Africa life is very hard. This book can remind people have the compassion, and then the people will help people on Africa. This book is talk about the true story, Nya need walk all day to get the water from the pound. Salva leave his home to the refugee camp because of war and he have chance to go to the U.S. to get new life. When he find his father still alive, he had make the decision to all Africa people have better life and his biggest problem is water. So he decide build the pond on different village. I think people should go to help people on Africa. I had learned some from this book, Salva had given me a spirit that is don’t give up, work step by step. This book can also motivate people at the U.S. are from Africa. They will work harder and try harder to try to go back their country help people over there. In the book, the most impression part to me is the ending, because the two stories become the one. I think people should go to read this book, because should not just stand their own world. They should see different world on different place, and this shows different life styles between America and South Sudan.  Compare other book I had read, such as: The Alchemist, The Great Gatsby and so on. It is good story, but this book let me feel little boring and the story is so straight, don’t like story as The Alchemist had different feeling change at different part. I would like to recommend this book to other people who may just only care about themselves; even I don’t like it very much. But it is good story, so I will give 3 starts to this book.
Lisa Girard More than 1 year ago
thhe book is cool becuase it is rold by two different people - both enemies. one comes bach and helps the other!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. I read it at school and then i bought just to read it again. I love Salva's story it's so sad but then it gets better. Nya's story is also very good and when she would be going to school it made me smile sue lin parks you wrote a fantastic book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story, a little graphic at parts, but really good
Nadine Young More than 1 year ago
I was the one who commented below this comment the aithor came to our school today this book is soo inspiring i feel like i know salva now too bad he couldnt come but he is in sudan workimg on his project water for sudan inc. Salva is so awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son and I loved this book. He read it aloud to me and I helped him with some of the more challenging concepts.  My son is 9 and while the reading level was about right for him, the content is mature.  I probably wouldn't have picked this book for him, but it was assigned.  Nevertheless, we loved it and I will never forget the look of surprise and delight on his face as he read the last line. An idea that worked for us...  keep your phone or computer handy to look  things up--such as a map of Africa--as you go along.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. My teacher read it infront of our class we finished the book in two days with only 1 and a half hours it was amazing, for those of you that read it is it a five stars? I thought it was it was just amazing what Salva did and how he survived and what he went threw with his uncle it was sad and it had a twist. I hope everybody will injoy this book!!!!!!!! Courtney.W
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good cause i read it in school so yall need to read it!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good i finshed it in on night!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A long walk t o water is a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so sad. You will cry your heart out when you read it. There is trial everywhere. I hate to be a spoiler but alot of characters die. Picture yourself trying to be protected by the many wars going on. That is just how Slava felt. If you think this is all. Your wrong. So please read this book. Don't forget to carry you box of tissues. -Abbie Francis
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Long Walk to Water A long walk to water was awesome book for me because it taught me many things about life, how we have to appreciate what we have, give all of us to become a successful person en the future so that others will not subjugate us, but at the same time is was sad for me because Salva had to suffer a lot walking in search of his family, but despite all, he overcame the struggle and came to USA. In fact this book made me realize that in the world there are a lot of people that have had serious problems in the past life and we do not know the circumstances, sometimes people judge each other without thinking that those have had to beat problems to become a leader. We have to appreciate what we have, feel happy why what we have, make do with what we have, because there are many people that in their countries they have been fighting and they don’t have enough food to survive, that is why we can see so many people that have died because of the lack of food, water, a place where to live or severe diseases, but the most important is that they do not have an education because of the economy, but don’t complain about it while we do, even thought we have everything, the thing is that we don’t know appreciate it.Yes I did, I felt affected because Salva’s life was very sad , have lost his family, spend days without eating anything, knowing nothing about his family and walking every day, and he didn’t know where he was going. In my case thanks God I my entire family alive so far, I have a job , education house, health , food and other commodities but ourselves block our ways sometimes or think that everything is impossible to do. In fact if we want to get something or become something we have to do. Because everything is hard, but never impossible. It has motivated me to give the best that I can, help others when someone else need, respect our parents. Make them to feel proud of us by having and education and become a successful person in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ended up loving this book! It was a short but sweet read! :D
SharynR More than 1 year ago
What a good book for youth as well as adults. It is a teaching story about being helped by someone and then growing up to help someone else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love how there are two story lines. How these two tribes are at war but in the most recent story, they work together to create things for the kids of south sudan. Like i said this was a great true story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I seriously loved this book. So touching and powerful. Loved the tension. So amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are reading this for a read out loud. It is amazing! Anyone that wants AMAZING book should read A Long Walk To Water! :) <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This year we had a lot of great books I think this is a really good book and inspirintal!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a teen nutmeg nominee 2012