It is 1985, and Salva Dut (10) lives with his family in a village in Southern Sudan. When the war approaches his village, he is separated from his family and finds himself on a long, painful journey with other refugees headed for Ethiopia, and then Kenya. In trying to find his family, Silva lives in many refugee camps. Then, at the age of 22, he is one of 3,000 young Sudanese men (aka the "lost boys") who is selected to come to the United States.
In a parallel story set in 2008, we meet Nya (11). She lives with her family in Southern Sudan. Nya is unable to attend school because she needs to support her family. Every day, she makes multiple trips to a pond two hours from their home to collect water. During the dry season, the family must move camp near the pond so they can dig for water, which produces little and causes illness. One day some strangers arrive in her village. One of those strangers is Salva, and he has returned to help Nya and her village get what they need.
BTSYA Adult Volunteer Reviewer (41):
This Inspiring book is based on the true story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and tells the story of Salva Dut’s experiences and journey from refugee to activist. It explains how his life was transformed and how he transformed the lives of others. It is an incredibly sad story and will pull on your heartstrings, but it closes on a note that will make you smile.
A Long Walk to Water has a great take away: good things can come out of a situation that seems tough or impossible. This is a MUST READ. The book inspired me to learn more, and after researching the story, I learned that Salva's work continues to this day. This book would make a great gift for readers and people interested in activism.
Young activists and those who like powerful stories about turning adversity into motivation will easily finish this book in one sitting. Then they won't stop talking about it and will want to share it with everyone in their life!
There are violence and death throughout.
This is a fictionalized story told in two different eras by two people whose lives ultimately come together.
What do your readers think about the alternating narrators? They come from different time periods (1985, 2008). Does that matter? There is a lot to unpack in this book. There are factual events and information: Sudanese war, village life, and economic, social, and health conditions. Then there are more intangible themes: perseverance, fear, loss, and courage, among others.
Were your readers surprised that Salva wanted to bo back to Sudan? Why or why not? If they had suffered as he did, would they have taken the same path? [There is no right or wrong answer.]
12 and Up
12 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 41