Thursday, November 11, 2010

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

2008. Nya spends all day every day walking to the pond to carry water home to her family. 1985. Salva is fleeing a war and soldiers that threaten to conscript him in to the army. In a dual narrative, we see the hardships people in Sudan face through the eyes of two children.

At 115 pages, this is a slim novel, but the story of survival against the odds is so heartfelt and moving, the emotional takeaway is massive. Salva’s story is based largely on the childhood memories of Salva Dut, one of the “lost children of Sudan” who was later relocated to the US from a refugee camp. While some of his experiences were horrifying (imagine being shot at and forced to cross a river full of hungry crocodiles), the novel never sensationalizes. The detached “reporter” tone takes the edge off, making the story more suitable for young readers.

It is ultimately a story of hope and the triumph of the human spirit and is well worth the read.

A LONG WALK TO WATER will be released next Monday November 15th in hardcover. Find out more about it at the author’s website.

FUN FACT: I won an ARC of this book in a contest on the author’s website (thanks to Cynsations for the link). Included with the book was a sticky note in the back with Salva’s phone number! I am sure that it was an accident, but it served as a gut-wrenching reminder that a real person went through what I had just read. Very sobering indeed.

8 comments:

Mardel said...

I've read a few of her younger "picture" books. She's a good writer. I haven't yet read anything by her that's written for the older reader, sounds interesting.

Ladybug said...

This sounds like an interesting novel and it's good to hear that is written in such a way that it is ok to read for young adults.

Zibilee said...

I haven't ever heard of this book, but it does in fact sound very moving. I also like that it manages to relate the drama without being sensationalistic and think that it might make a good read for both the kids and myself. Thanks for the great review, Lenore!

Anna said...

Uh oh...definitely a tearjerker, I can tell!

Shelley said...

Fabulous title, and I liked the detail about the sticky note. My work is about people desperate for water in other circumstances, other eras, but that search is timeless.

Lenore said...

Ladybug -
The suggested age group is 10 and up.

Katie said...

I really need to read this one when it comes out! Just based on your synopsis and the real-life context, I can DEFinitely see myself, and a few other teachers at my school, using A Long Walk to Water as a class novel.

Lenore said...

Katie - A LONG WALK TO WATER would work wonderfully as a novel to use in class!