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A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
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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.
"There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But [this] spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. . . . Young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax." —Booklist, starred review
"[This] spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan. . . . Tragic and harrowing."— Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Two narratives intersect in a quiet conclusion that is filled with hope."—School Library Journal, starred review
"This powerful dual narrative packs suspense and introspection into Park's characteristic spare description; while there are lots of details offered to the reader, they come not in long, prosaic lines but in simple, detached observations. Both Salva's and Nya's stories are told with brutal, simple honesty, and they deliver remarkable perspective on the Sudanese conflict. The novel's brevity and factual basis makes the reality of life in Sudan very accessible, and readers will find both the story and the style extremely moving."—The Bulletin
"Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape. . . . A heartfelt account."—Kirkus Reviews
"Brilliant. . . . A touching narrative about strife and survival on a scale most American readers will never see."— Book Page
"Riveting."—The Horn Book
"[A] fast, page-turning read. . . . A great book for high school students and an important novel for young adults who enjoy learning about other world cultures."—VOYA
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At the beginning of the book, it was a bit confusing trying to understand how the two stories connected. But by the end of the book, the way that the author weaves the two stories of Nya and Salva together is incredibly powerful and moving.
The author writes beautifully, using vivid imagery and robust descriptions that make the characters and situations easy to relate to even though most of us have never had to experience such hardships. The author was careful not to be too graphic in his storytelling which helps to make this story accessible to both younger and older readers.
This story teaches lessons of compassion and perseverance and courage. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It provides an incredible perspective on the definition of a hard life and is an inspirational read.
I found See Saw girl to be a very quick read with "friendly" writing for those who just aren't into history. It'll be my book to "hook" them into the genre. A Long Walk to Water, in my personal opinion, would be the next step up for these students because of the way in which the author chose to write the story.
The story is told in first-person narrative by two different characters AND the story takes place during two different periods of time in Sudan. The two stories flip back and forth with each chapter. Never did I find the two stories confusing or difficult to keep up with.
SALVA is a Sudan boy who, when gunfire breaks out while he's at school, is forced to go on the run due to the civil war - leaving his family behind. The story focuses on the heart wrenching details of his journey.
Nya is a young girl whose story takes place several years after that of Salva. Also a child living in Sudan, Nya's job is to make a very long, daily (sometimes more than once) journey to fetch water for their family.
All the time I was reading, I knew that at some point Salva and Nya's lives and/or story would intersect. And, in the end, it did! But it wasn't until the very end was I able to figure out how their life story would intersect.
Although the challenges these two characters face will pull at your heart strings, the author has put in just enough detail without being too graphic for young readers.
This is a beautiful story that definitely deserves its place on my classroom bookshelf. I cannot wait to share it with all my students. And, I'm anxious to read another book by Linda Park.