Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > May Pick: A LONG WALK TO WATER

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message 1: by M.G. (last edited May 01, 2014 03:10AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Results of the poll should now be visible. The group picked A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by another Newbery winning author, Linda Sue Park.

A Long Walk to Water Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

Cautionary note: This book is written for older middle grade children, about war torn Africa and its refugee children. While the violence is not graphic or gratuitous, the real-life hardships faced by the main characters are not sugar coated. It may be a difficult story for sensitive children. Read it with your kids.

From the GoodReads description:

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.


message 2: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Brehl (sandybrehl) | 40 comments So happy to see this selected. April was a whirlwind month for me and I didn't vote but hope to join some comments on this amazing title.


message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Yay! I'm off to put in my order at the library!


message 4: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Brehl (sandybrehl) | 40 comments Rebecca, you may run into a wait list- this is an amazing book loved by reads of all ages, including adults. I think I heard talk of having it made into a movie. Anyone else hear that?


message 5: by S.W. (new)

S.W. (swlothian) | 844 comments Mod
This sounds like such a good book, and I know my wife would love it. I'll be interested to read what you all think. It's a shame that there isn't an ebook I can track down. Physical books from Amazon take forever to arrive here in Oz.


message 6: by M.G. (last edited May 03, 2014 03:38AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments S.W. wrote: "This sounds like such a good book, and I know my wife would love it. I'll be interested to read what you all think. It's a shame that there isn't an ebook I can track down. Physical books from Ama..."

There is an ebook edition available, for less than $4 US.


message 7: by S.W. (new)

S.W. (swlothian) | 844 comments Mod
Cheers, MG. I've seen the paperback for that price but no ebook is available for Aussie shoppers. Unfortunately, we get a reduced selection of books that are available in the US.


message 8: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments S.W. wrote: "Cheers, MG. I've seen the paperback for that price but no ebook is available for Aussie shoppers. Unfortunately, we get a reduced selection of books that are available in the US."

That's good to know -- I had assumed that ebooks were available to everyone!


message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I was able to get the ebook from my library. Well, my Mom's library.


message 10: by Rebecca (last edited May 06, 2014 09:00AM) (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Read it in pretty much one sitting--it's short, but you'll spend more time thinking about it after. That said, though the message and the history lesson are important I didn't find it a compelling novel--which it only half is. So not sure just what I think of it.


message 11: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 297 comments I agree with Rebecca, it's not a page turner like some other books, but I found it illuminating and indeed it stayed with me for quite a while afterwards.


message 12: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments I found it riveting because these were real-life experiences. But I'm a biography nut, and nonfiction does read a little differently than a novel.

It has provided for a lot of great conversations with my kids about children who live in a 3rd world context. Hard to imagine a life where you can't take water for granted.


message 13: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Yes! The thing that made it a weird read was that it was simultaneously fiction and non-fiction. My brain seemed to struggle a bit with that.


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1 comments Read this yesterday (short read for an adult) Going to recommended to our middle school students. Thought it was written in a way that would give them some understanding of a complex issue.


message 15: by Dawn (new)

Dawn Malone (dawnmalone) | 9 comments This is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it! I love multi-layered books like this one. That it is fictional yet has the non-fictional elements of setting and events made this book very appealing to me.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 5 comments It is interesting that this book doesn't give every graphic detail about the horrors that these boys had to endure because it would be too much for our own children to bear. Yet the Sundanese boys were the same age as our young readers. But, I am thankful it was more of an overview. The essence of their struggle is easy to grasp. There is a documentary, "God Grew Tired of Us", that follows three of the Lost Boys. It is very good - painful, but there are a few funny parts as the boys try to assimilate into American culture. Great May book choice!


message 17: by L.R. (new)

L.R. S. | 32 comments When my brothers and I would frown at the veggies on our dinner table, we were told to think of the starving kids in Ethiopia.
But water? As a kid I definitely didn't think twice of it, and as an adult I'm not doing too much better.

At a fundraising event, I met a woman who was an aid worker in Darfur, so I've heard first-hand accounts of the water issues and violence in the region, but I appreciated how this book presents the issues so that they can be discussed with children.

Wish this wasn't based on a true story, but am glad to have had the opportunity to read it. I borrowed it in ebook format, but will be looking to buy it, so it will be hanging around the house and hopefully will be read by a few kids. Thanks for the recommendation!


message 18: by Maranda (new)

Maranda Russell | 45 comments I picked this up from the library and am going to give it a try. Thought it sounded like the kind of book I like.


message 19: by Maranda (new)

Maranda Russell | 45 comments About 2/3 of the way through the book. I must say after reading some of the other comments here, I expected a rough, somewhat dry read, but I find it flows very easily. I don't think that it is written more like non-fiction than a novel, although knowing the story is true does definitely make it a more heartfelt, emotionally stirring read. I was surprised at how the story focuses far more on Salva than Nya (I thought it would be about 50/50) but I can see why it does since Salva had quite a story to tell and obviously their stories are going to come together at some point.


message 20: by Maranda (new)

Maranda Russell | 45 comments Finished the book. I could see how towards the end it could seem choppy and not flow as well since so much time was skipped. Of course, I'm sure the author just did that to keep the story on track and tell what was important, but it did seem like things sped up fast after they were driven out of Ethiopia. Overall I really liked the book and it definitely makes you understand and care more about what some of the people in Sudan and areas around it go through.


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