A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan 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.
My Take: What is not to love about this book? Salva is a boy whose story summarizes the constant fight to survive in war-torn Sudan, the political struggles in Kenya and Ethiopia, the constant hunger, evading armies who brutally force men and boys to join (this part is not necessarily discussed), the threat of crocodiles, lions and a myriad of other wild animals who are hungry. After many years among strangers in refugee camps, Salva is among the very few who emigrate from Sudan to the United States.
Salva is an amazing man who suffered incomprehensible loss and witness horrendous violence. And yet it is Salva who returns to Sudan to find water for a small village far under the earth's crust. It is Salva's hope that the inhabitants will lead healthier lives with a fresh supply of water and freeing up the children to attend school.
Not usually a crier, I may have caught a small sob in my throat at a couple of points in the book.
Speaking of Africa, check out my friend, Amy's site real quick. Amy's in Zambia running an orphanage with her family. Their goal is to raise and educate these darling little girls and boys who will give back to Zambia, making it a better place like Salva did.