I decided to read this book after I finished reading another book written by Linda Park (See Saw Girl). As a 5th grade reading teacher, I sometimes struggle with my recommendations for interesting historical fiction/non-fiction selections - most especially when recommending to my students who typically aren't interested in those two genres.
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.