Welcome to KidLit Gems!
Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.
August’s theme: Survivor Stories
A LONG WALK TO WATER
Text & Illustrations © 2010, Linda Sue Park
Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
New York Times Bestseller
Booklist Starred Review
2011 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (NY)
2012 Black-Eyed Susan Award Nominee (MA)
2012 Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award (ND)
2012 Great Lakes Book Award Nominee (MI)
2012 Kentucky Blue Grass Award Nominee
2012 Maine Student Book Award Nominee
2013 Golden Sower Award Nominee (NE)
2013 South Carolina Association of School Librarians Award Nominee
2013 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee (IN)
Later, he would learn that at least a thousand people had died trying to cross the river that day, drowned or shot or attacked by crocodiles.
How was it that he was not one of the thousand? Why was he one of the lucky ones?
~ A LONG WALK TO WATER
A Long Walk to Water cleverly alternates two points of view in the third person, as both main characters, “walk to water” in Southern Sudan. Tween readers’ will anxiously flip to the next chapter as Nya endures her daily routine and Salva faces lions, soldiers and travels abroad. Both Nya and Salva are BRAVE warriors, the kind that keep going when faced with adversity. Park herself bravely narrated this true story about Salva’s Dut of Lou-Ariik’s experience during Sudan’s civil war using objective tone, simplistic vocabulary and a rich setting. I can’t wait for my children to join Salva on his journey from Southern Sudan to America, and to learn what hope and generosity can accomplish.
The walking began again. Walking–but to where?
No one knew anything for sure. Where was Salva supposed to go?
Not home. There is still war everywhere in Sudan. Not back to Ethiopia. The soldiers would shoot us. Kenya. There are supposed to be refugee camps in Kenya.
~ A LONG WALK TO WATER
Nothing stops Salva Dut. Not starvation. Not lions. Not crocodiles. Not bullets. In A Long Walk to Water, based on Dut’s experience as the leader of almost 1500 “Lost Boys of Sudan,” Linda Sue Park shares Dut’s story of perseverance and triumph through two sets of adolescent eyes, over a decade apart. Salva, an 11-year-old boy from 1985 Sudan walks to escape death. Nya, an 11-year-old girl from 2008 Sudan walks to find life. The two converge at the base of what Nya calls “the iron giraffe”–a life-giving deep-water well. United by hardship, Salva’s hardship brings empathy. Nya’s hardship brings gratitude.
This well will quench more than thirst. It will bring forth new crops and opportunities for education and work. This gut-wrenching and significant account makes me want to grow up to be like Salva. Or, more fittingly, like Linda Sue Park, telling the stories of other Salva Duts so more people, like me, can be inspired to greater heights of empathy, gratitude, and giving.
How we can help: Water For South Sudan
Watch for Lou’s gem next week!
We want to hear from you!
What is your favorite survivor story for youth?