A long walk to water : based on a true story : a novel /

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996,... Full description

Main Author: Park, Linda Sue.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Boston, Mass. : Clarion, 2010
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Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* After 11-year-old Salva's school in Sudan is attacked by brutal rebel soldiers in 1985, he describes several terrifying years on the run in visceral detail: The rain, the mad current, the bullets, the crocodiles, the welter of arms and legs, the screams, the blood. Finally, he makes it to refugee camps in Ethiopia and then Kenya, where he is one of 3,000 young men chosen to go to America. After he is adopted by a family in Rochester, New York, he is reunited with the Sudanese family that he left behind. There have been several books about the lost boys of Sudan for adults, teens, and even for elementary-school readers. But Newbery Award-winning Park's spare, immediate account, based on a true story, adds a stirring contemporary dimension. In chapters that alternate with Salva's story, Nya, a young Sudanese girl in 2008, talks about daily life, in which she walks eight hours to fetch water for her family. Then, a miracle happens: Salva returns home to help his people and builds a well, making fresh water available for the community and freeing Nya to go to school. The switching viewpoints may initially disorient some, but young readers will be stunned by the triumphant climax of the former refugee who makes a difference with the necessities that we all take for granted. Teachers may want to point out the allusion to Nelson Mandela's A Long Walk to Freedom (1995) echoed in this moving book's title.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Newbery Medalist Park's (The Single Shard) spare, hard-hitting novel delivers a memorable portrait of two children in Sudan-one an 11-year-old Lost Boy, Salva, who fled in 1985 and later immigrated to the United States, and 11-year-old Nya, who collects water for her village in 2008. Park employs well-chosen details and a highly atmospheric setting to underscore both children's struggles to survive. Salva's journey is tragic and harrowing, as he's driven by attacking soldiers and braves hunger, shifting alliances among refugees, and the losses of a friend to a lion attack and his uncle to violent marauders. "The days became a never-ending walk," he reflects. Salva's narrative spans 23 years and highlights myriad hardships but not without hope, as he withstands the deprivations of refugee camps, leads 1,200 boys to Kenya, and eventually gains sanctuary in Rochester, N.Y., where he still lives (he also contributes an afterword). Briefer entries about Nya preface chapters about Salva, illustrating the daily realities and sacrifices of modern-day life in Sudan. The eventual connection of Salva and Nya's stories offers the promise of redemption and healing. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-When 11-year-old Salva ran from fighting in southern Sudan in 1985, he couldn't have imagined that 20 years later he would return to his country and build a well, ending the long walks to water of 11-year-old Nya, a girl from an opposing tribe. Park alternates their stories in each chapter in this much-lauded novel of one "lost boy." Audio version available from Full Cast Audio. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

The long walk is actually two -- two journeys that converge in Park's spare text, a novelization of how her friend Salva Dut, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, escaped his war-ravaged country and returned years later to help revitalize it by founding a company called Water for Sudan, Inc. In 1985, gunfire outside eleven-year-old Salva's schoolhouse drives him and his classmates from their village. Not knowing if his family is dead or alive, he eventually joins a refugee group heading east to Ethiopia. A tandem narrative follows another Sudanese eleven-year-old, Nya, in 2008, as she spends her days trudging to and from a murky pond to collect water for her family. After Salva reaches the Ethiopian refugee camp, the text feels rushed, skipping over his years at multiple camps ('Salva was almost seventeen years old now'; 'Salva was now twenty-two years old') and, finally, in the United States. But the first half of the book offers a riveting account of his trek through bush and desert, facing starvation, finding his beloved uncle and losing him again to murderous thieves. Nya's story is also moving, as it illustrates the hardships of inaccessibility to clean drinking water and the wonder of receiving a village well -- drilled by Salva's company. Nya is amazed to discover that what her community needed most had been right there, beneath their feet, all along. CHRISTINE M. HEPPERMANN (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Salva Dut is 11 years old when war raging in the Sudan separates him from his family. To avoid the conflict, he walks for years with other refugees, seeking sanctuary and scarce food and water. Park simply yet convincingly depicts the chaos of war and an unforgiving landscape as they expose Salva to cruelties both natural and man-made. The lessons Salva remembers from his family keep him from despair during harsh times in refugee camps and enable him, as a young man, to begin a new life in America. As Salva's story unfolds, readers also learn about another Sudanese youth, Nya, and how these two stories connect contributes to the satisfying conclusion. This story is told as fiction, but it is based on real-life experiences of one of the "Lost Boys" of the Sudan. Salva and Nya's compelling voices lift their narrative out of the "issue" of the Sudanese War, and only occasionally does the explanation of necessary context intrude in the storytelling. Salva's heroism and the truth that water is a source of both conflict and reconciliation receive equal, crystal-clear emphasis in this heartfelt account. (Fiction. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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