Elaine's Reviews > A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
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's review
Dec 14, 2011

it was amazing

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 on a humanitarian project to help the people of Sudan. A parallel story also occurs every other chapter. This is the story of Nya, a Sudanese girl whose daily task is to walk a half-day's journey to gather water for her family. In Nya's story, a water well is built in her village by international aid workers. Caution - spoilert alert!!! At the end of the story, Nya visits the well to fill her family's water gourd and meets the tall, strong Sudanese man who is in charge of the well project - - he introduces himself to Nya as Salvo Dut. I loved the parallel stories and also author Park's simple yet effective portrayal of Salvo's internal journey. We know the horrors that have taken place in Sudan. Park hints at these, yet manages to keep the narrative palatable, especially for kids. This is a story of personal struggle, endurance, and unimaginable spiritual strength that I think most kids would really like. It is YA2 (middle school) in our library, which I think is very appropriate. I think both boys and girls would enjoy this story.
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