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A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,493 Ratings  ·  2,757 Reviews
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 cov ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 15th 2010 by Clarion Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Newbery 2011
20th out of 135 books — 539 voters
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Red Dot 2012: Older Readers: Long-list
1st out of 32 books — 32 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jan 07, 2016 Aj the Ravenous Reader rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Darina

“I need only to get through the rest of this day. This day and no other.”

Where there is a child, there is always joy. I always thought this was true but the story told otherwise. This is a true to life story of Salva, an 11 year old boy who found little to almost no place in a world where people struggle to survive an almost endless series of conflicts during the Second Sudanese Civil War that started in 1983 .

To adults caught in a tumultuous succession of life threatening obstacles, Salva
...more
Judith Weaver
Aug 02, 2011 Judith Weaver rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: grades 5 and up
Quick read good for multiple ability levels.This book should be an easy inclusion into 7th grade Geography, 6th grade world history, or as an addition to a Holocaust unit. This is how I plan to use it with my 7th grade reading teacher. For younger readers, this book may encourage a class to adopt a project to help bring water to children their age in other places in the world.

Book is told from two viewpoints. One is a girl walking each day to get the water her family needs which she carries home
...more
Heidi
Jun 27, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing
There are some stories that need to be told regardless of how sad or horrifying they might be. The challenge becomes even harder when the stories are being told to children. How much should one include? What details are necessary and what can be left out without changing the story too much? And what about stories that involve extreme violence and severe suffering? How best to tell the story? These questions can be debated over and over again because there is no one right answer. No two authors w ...more
Cheryl
Apr 19, 2013 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
You should start by first knowing that the book is a children's book--otherwise the writing style will be off-putting. It is a heart-wrenching story of a boy (Salva) who is separated from his parents during the religious war between Arab-Africans and Africans in Sudan. He joins a group and they first try to make their way to Ethiopia where they are chased off by soldiers and forced to jump into a lake filled with crocodiles. He then spends a year and a half with a group headed for Kenya--then Am ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This novel is divided into two alternating narratives that come together in the end. In brown print is the story, set in 2008, of Nya, a young girl from Sudan who has to walk 8 hours round trip to fetch water every day, twice a day. In black print is the story of Salva, a young Sudanese boy whose village is attacked by the rebels in 1985 and who ends up fleeing across the desert to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. After witnessing many horrors, he and other "lost boys," homeless and orphaned, walk ba ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Oct 29, 2010 Roxanne Hsu Feldman rated it really liked it
This is a quiet book; it is also an explosive and extremely powerful book. For such a short book, it really packs a huge punch -- one that lingers in my mind and makes me want to know more, find out more, and help out if I can!

It is a quiet book because Park reports and does not sensationalize. At times, in the beginning of Salva's journey, I felt a slight disconnect: I did not feel that his forced exile from his village or even the loss of his new friend are scenes that moved me emotionally. A
...more
Mike
Dec 15, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it
The book was about a boy named Salva, and a girl named Nya. They're both from Sudan, and have faced many struggles to survive. Salva especially had to go through some rough times in his life. I thought the book was great. I liked how it had two parts of the story. However, sometimes it wouldn't catch my attention. That's why I rated it four stars. Overall the book was amazing, and some parts were sad. I would recommend people to read this book.

The literature circles were okay. I liked how we al
...more
Lisa
Dec 15, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
In this story, Salva and Nya are the main characters. Their both from Sudan, and faced many challenges. Salva's village was under attacked by the rebels, they had to run away from the village for safety. On this long hard journey to Ethiopia there are many things that happens to Salva both tragic and emotional. Salva is independent and learns how to control one situation at a time. Nya on the other hand, she walks every single day to go get water from the pond. The water is dirty, but that chang ...more
Shelby
Jan 12, 2016 Shelby rated it it was amazing
I am speechless right now! There are no words to describe this book. It was amazing. It also had very good writing. I vould not put the book down. I can't believe that I finished a book within 2 days. That is how much I was into the book.
Jessie
Mar 24, 2015 Jessie rated it really liked it
After thinking about this book for two years, I changed my rating from three to four. It is a stand out book. I love this author and she told this story well. She tells it in two voices, every other chapter. One is a girl who spends most of her days walking to where water is found and carrying it back to her home. The other is the story of a boy who is displaced by war. **stop here for spoilers** The author interviewed this person and so this is a true story. I feel like it is almost a biography ...more
Jesus.bahena
This story was really great, it was a story about young kid named Salva and his village were attacked by rebels and had to run away from the village. He had to survive a long and dangerous walk to Ethiopia were there was a refugee camps. When traveling he had to face lots of emotional problems and dnager along the way. Salva had hope that got him through everything. This book is great for readers I recommend for other people to read this book. I liked the story because it was a book that you jus ...more
Reeda
Mar 28, 2015 Reeda rated it really liked it
Water. We have it in such abundance that we often take it for granted. In this story, told in two narratives, one set in 2008 and the other in 1985, we have Nya, who has to walk for eight hours every day, twice a day just to get water. Then there is Salva, who left his village in 1985 when fighting broke out amongst rebels and he left his village to hide. For many long years he wondered in groups or by himself, walked hundreds of miles, landing in different refugee camps and enduring many hardsh ...more
Jennifer
As a parent, I've spent a lot of time protecting my childrens' innocence about the world. We've been blessed beyond belief to live in a first world country, in a safe community, where our needs our met, where my kids have been able to be kids. Sure, they're aware of "the needy", we sponsor a child through World Vision, and they've learned about Haiti and Rwanda through some mission programs at our church. But they don't really know the details of the suffering. My older child has now reached an ...more
Asusena
Dec 15, 2014 Asusena rated it liked it
This is a fine story. The story is based on these two characters named Salva and Nya, and they are also both during different time periods. Salva's story is during 1990's and Nya's during 2008. Salva was just a little boy when there was a war going on and had to get separated with his family. He travels with others to go to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Along the way he has stifles trying to survive. Nya on the other hand has to wake up everyday to fetch some water that isn't even clean for her fa ...more
Mikayla
i love the book so much that i made a book banner and won in the school and in sc!!!!!!
☆Rachel
Jan 17, 2016 ☆Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ela
This book is about two eleven-year-olds Salva and Nya both the same age both struggling both in one country, Sudan but in different time periods about 23 years apart. Salva is a lost boy has to travel from Southern Sudan to Ethiopia to Kenya barely surviving through the heat as he still is only a child but in fact, leads an army and promises them they will have freedom. As for Nya, she has to take an eight-hour journey every day to fetch water for her family but even so the water is always only ...more
marcy marshall
Feb 27, 2015 marcy marshall rated it it was amazing
Are you into books that you can lose yourself into? If you answered yes then a long walk to water is a perfect book for you, this is a very emotional book that is based on a true story.This book is a historical fiction by Linda Sue Parks.

***Spoil Alert***

This book is about two people lives who are both 11 years old.The story takes place in 2008 and 1984 and in Southern Sudan this is were our first character named Salvas problems begin because of a war that is going on Salva was separated from hi
...more
Barb Middleton
Jan 07, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic, courage
I asked a Sudanese boy, from a previous school I worked, if after graduation he planned to go back to Sudan. He said, "I don't know. You have many tribes in America and get along. You don't kill leader... even if you disagree." He was one of four "lost boys" that the school sponsored and this young man's story was one of resilience and courage. He lost an eye to an infection while walking across the desert and watched the bombing of his family's house - with them inside - leaving him an orphan. ...more
Donalyn
The long civil war in Sudan destroyed the country and devastated its people. Park alternates the stories of two Sudanese children, one a Lost Boy, forced to flee his village during an attack and seek refuge in Ethiopia, and a young girl who walks for miles each day to collect water for her family. A brief, powerful story explaining the Sudanese conflict to children and one boy's hope and courage.
Mr. Gottshalk
Apr 13, 2016 Mr. Gottshalk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in a row I've read with an African setting, and in this one, it's more contemporary - spanning from 1985-2010. The main character, Salva, is forced to flee his village in southern Sudan because of the horrible war raging all around, and many Sudanese people set out on foot to try to make it to Ethiopia, where they can be safe. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian government collapses a while later and off Salva goes, finally to Kenya. A shorter story about a girl named Nya who is ...more
Erin R
Apr 10, 2014 Erin R rated it it was amazing
A Long Walk to Water
This unique and profound story is centered on two characters: Nya, a girl living in South Sudan in 2008 and Salva, a Sudanese refugee during 1985 and on. Their stories parallel one another’s and yet the reader is given little insight into why until the very end. It is told back and forth, with a page or two devoted to Nya’s struggle to obtain dirty drinking water for her family, and Salva’s heart wrenching experience as a “Lost Boy” seeking survival during a war. The two stor
...more
Kristin
Jun 08, 2014 Kristin added it
Shelves: multicultural
A. Text to World Connection- As I read about the refugee camps closing in Ethiopia and thought about Salva being forced out of the country, across the dangerous river I couldn't help but think of all the refugees currently living in refugee camps inside Thailand and plan to close those camps in the coming years. Where will the refugees go? Will they be forced to return to Myanmar (Burma) where they once feared for their lives?
B. Six Discussion Questions (Bloom's Revised Taxonomy)
1. Remembering
...more
Barbara
The two stories that begin on the first page of the book seem at first to have little to do with one another, other than the fact that one takes place in Southern Sudan in 2008 and one takes place in the same area in 1985. But as the stories unfold, readers start to realize what the connection is. Nya's story describes her constant, daily trip to bring water to her family. Over and over, day after day, she walks to the water source and then returns with the water. In Salva's story, there is also ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This review contains spoilers.

In 1985, the civil war being fought between the northern, Muslim government in the north of Sudan and the non-Muslim south came to the village where eleven-year-old Salva Dut was at school. With the sound of gunfire in their ears, the entire village and the school children who come from the surrounding villages all ran into the forest, fleeing the violence but with nowhere to go. Salva is alone - all of his family members are at his village which is in the direction
...more
Gustavo
Jan 09, 2015 Gustavo rated it it was amazing
Really inspiring book . It shows the harsh truth of millions of people in the world, portrayed by short stories that talk about this worldwide problem. I think everybody should read this book.
Melanie
Aug 21, 2015 Melanie rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing story that left me humbled and thankful for my abundant life. Parks does a fabulous job concisely describing the power of one as she weaves two stories of different children in Sudan; one story begins in 1985 and one in 2008. Because of the endurance and attitude of Salva, who came first, a little girl name Nya was blessed with many opportunities she would never have had. This book reminded me of the importance of making the road a little smoother for those who will come afte ...more
Lisa Lou
Aug 05, 2015 Lisa Lou rated it it was amazing
5+++++ stars
Oh where to begin, this story deeply touched me. One of the more moving books I have read in a long time. An amazing story of survival, perseverance, and hope. Not only did I learn a lot but this book really put things in perspective and made me think twice about my "first world" problems. I believe this book should be required reading in schools. The story also sparked my interest to read more about the Lost Boys of Sudan. Overall, this was a fascinating, quick, easy read that I wou
...more
Imari
Mar 30, 2015 Imari rated it it was amazing
Do you like actually take the time to read a historical fiction book, that you think is about 900 years older? Well here's a good book that I hope is not that old hehe. The book is called A Long Walk To Water. I actually enjoyed this book, it gave me hope for the both of the characters and it taught me multiple lessons. ***Spoiler Alert*** I was happy for One of the characters Salva because he found two of his family members. But you'll find out later on in the story. I'm going to show you both ...more
Jessica
Oct 09, 2015 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This story is told from the perspective of Salva, a young Dinka boy who fled the Sudanese civil war - one of the Lost Boys of Sudan - and his tale of survival. He not only keeps his humanity but becomes a leader of a group of boys and the thrives when taken in by an American family. He has returned to Sudan to help build wells to bring safe water to many villages. Remarkably, he builds wells for both Dinka and Nuer villages, which are longstanding enemies. The other half of the story is that of ...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Everyone should read this!
This book has been the highly successful one school/one book read for both of my middle schools.
Told in alternating chapters, past and present, nonfiction and fiction, this is the story of war and poverty in Sudan.
Grim to begin with, the story follows Samba as he runs from the civil war that has invaded his village and becomes a refugee. He escapes to Ethiopia, then must move on to Kenya (while taking charge of hundreds of young boys) and finally makes his way to the
...more
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Play Book Tag: A Long Walk to Water - Linda Sue Park (3 1/2 stars) 11 16 Apr 05, 2016 07:16PM  
Historical Fiction for 7th Graders 1 3 Dec 10, 2015 02:09PM  
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Linda Sue Park is a Korean American author of children's fiction. Park published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. To date, she has written six children’s novels and five picture books for younger readers. Park’s work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard.

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“One step at a time, one day at a time, just today, just this day to get through.” 20 likes
“Reading for writers is like training for athletes.” 5 likes
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