A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
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A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  8,232 ratings  ·  1,498 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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A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkSmile by Raina TelgemeierBoys Without Names by Kashmira ShethNoah Barleywater Runs Away by John BoyneThe Billionaire's Curse by Richard Newsome
Red Dot 2012: Older Readers: Long-list
1st out of 32 books — 28 voters
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Newbery 2011
38th out of 148 books — 478 voters

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Community Reviews

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Judith Weaver
Aug 02, 2011 Judith Weaver rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
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
i love the book so much that i made a book banner and won in the school and in sc!!!!!!
Erin R
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
Barb Middleton
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
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
This book can be read in a couple of hours, but the content is definitely for an older child. The pain and horror these Sundanese boys had to endure is beyond comprehension for most Americans. The story also gives a glimpse that just because people have left the fighting doesn't mean their problems are over. Refugees face enormous obstacles when and if they are accepted into a bordering country, typically with very poor camp conditions. The Lost Boys who won the lottery ticket to come to the Uni...more
This is a KBA 2011 nominee for middle grades. Based on the true story of Salvo Dut, who at age 10 was forced from his home and family during the civil war in Sudan. For years, Salvo survived homelessness and extreme hardship, wandering throughout Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya, living in refugee camps. At age 22, he has the great fortune of being selected as one of only a few young men in his refugee camp to move to American and live with an adoptive family. Salvo graduates from college and embarks...more
O.K. - I have read this story, or stories similar to it, many times - "God Grew Tired of Us," "A Long Way Gone," "What Is the What," to name a few. So, in that sense, this didn't do much for me. However, for the late elementary or middle school student who has not read this story, this is certainly a worthy read.

"A Long Walk to Water" is based on the true story of Salva Dut, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" who in 1985 was one of the hundred of thousands who became victims of the civil war in Sud...more
Zion Martin-hayes
Long Walk To Water book report
Zion Martin- third g
The author of the book a long walk to water is Linda Sue Park. She wrote books such as 39 clues, seesaw girl, when my name was Keoko, project mulberry, the third gift, yum yuck. So much more. In 2002 she won the Newberry award for her book a single shepherd, in 2003 she won an ALA notable children’s book for when my name was Keoko, 2000 seesaw girl was the bestselling children book. More awards probably too many. The illustrator is Kayley Le...more
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
Nina Gill
I have never been to South Sudan, but Linda Sue Park made me imagine what it was like in her novel A Long Walk to Water. I could understand how hard it could be to be raised in South Sudan while having a lack of water. It would be difficult for anyone to survive in such hot weather. The people of South Sudan deal with many challenges because of the hot dry weather. They also have to go a far distance to get water from the well each day.
The main characters in this novel are Salva and Nya. Salva...more
Nya walks barefoot amid thorns, heat, and dust to the pond to fetch water for her family, four hours each way, twice a day. She spends half a day walking to bring two containers of mud-stained water to her village in southern Sudan.

23 years earlier, Salva flees his village in southern Sudan on foot when armed men raid his village. Knowing that the soldiers (on either side) would force young boys to take up arms, Salva's teacher ushers Salva and his classmates away from the village and into the b...more
I just finished reading this book with Payten, my 10 year-old daughter. Such a good book to read with your kids to help them understand how fortunate they are. The story is about a boy named Salva who grew up in southern Sudan in the 80's/90's and endured unimaginable hardships throughout his life. Driven from his home by war, separated from his family, nowhere to go but to refugee camps in far away countries and no way to get there but on foot. And this all happened to him during my lifetime......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
The story is so sad and felt almost surreal to me. The story is told very simply and it actually seemed a little watered down. I would have loved it if the author would have taken a little more liberty to give more dialogue. For example, when Salva is at a refugee camp, the author barely writes about life there at all, other than to say the boy lived there. There is also a another time where Salva, becomes a leader of a group of boys, and instead of writing a conversation among the boys, she tel...more
It was really good. The author didn't put a lot of action like fighting in it but she still put in action in it. Its about this boy who got separated with his family because of the Sudan war. The boy has to escape the war and find his family.

I think the theme of this book is to help other people and not let them suffer what you suffered because the boy in the future dug wells for other people because girls had to walk a mile to get water and when he was looking for his family, the boy was reall...more
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
I had this on my library TBR list; don't know how it got there. As I started to listen to this audio, I was surprised at how young it sounded....looked it up and it's listed as a YA book. That explained that.
Salva's story is interesting and very enlightening in many ways. Being based on a true story, Salva's plight, fear, circumstances and flight take on a sober tone. This is a person's life, after all. It's full of fear and situations that no child should be in.
Nya's story is more peaceful. Al...more
Two stories are interwoven here. We have the story of Salva, an ethnically Dinka boy, beginning when he’s about 10 years old in 1985. Civil war has come to his village in Sudan, he’s separated from his family, and he becomes a refugee finally living in a refugee camp in Ethopia. When the refugee camp is closed several years later (violently), he and other teenage boys walk to Kenya to another camp. At both camps Salva tries to learn—English, reading, etc. Finally Salva is adopted by a family in...more
Tara Chevrestt
This was a quick, short, but enlightening read. It is aimed at the adolescent crowd and it is about the Second Sudanese Civil War in southern Sudan during the late 1980s thru late 90s.

For full review:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Summary: This book has a double narrative. The first is Nya in 2008 and is focused on the difficulty of getting water in her village. The second narrative is about Salva, who is eleven, in 1985 and how he survived the war in Sudan. He is all alone having become separated from his family and spends years trying to just survive.

Review: This is a powerful book that brings the reality of living in a war zone real and makes the distant up close and personal. It also drives home the importance of clea...more
Whenever I read books like this, my heart just swells in gratitude for the plentiful, good life that I have. I have never had to walk all day to fetch the water my family will depend on to live. I have never had to run for my life or live in a refugee camp. I have not been separated from my family nor have I come close to death by dehydration, starvation or animal attack.

This book will remind you how much you have. This book will make you want to do more with what you have.

A Long Walk to Water i...more
Danielle Larca
We've heard that clean water can change lives in developing countries. It's a difficult thing to imagine, given our access to all the water we could ever want. In A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park takes us to Sudan to bring this message home in a powerful way.

2008. Nya must walk for eight hours every day, for seven months out of the year to fetch drinking water for her family. It's not always clean and sometimes it makes people sick. When a team of workers tells her small village there is wa...more
ATOS Book Level: 5.0
Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus (MG+ 6 and up)
AR Points: 3.0
Lexile: 720L
Word Count: 21221

This book is told in two voices from two different times. It starts with a girl, Nya, set in 2008. Nya is an 11 year old girl who's life revolves around water. Not the drinking of water or swimming or frolicking in water, but in walking and walking and walking for water. Leaving early in the morning each day with an empty plastic container in her hand and walking through "heat, time an...more
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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.

More about Linda Sue Park...
Storm Warning (The 39 Clues, #9) A Single Shard Trust No One (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #5) When My Name Was Keoko Project Mulberry

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“One step at a time, one day at a time, just today, just this day to get through.” 6 likes
“He was floating with his head down, blood streaming from a bullet hole in the back of his neck.” 2 likes
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