A Long Walk to Water
By Linda Sue Park
Clarion Books, 2009. 121 pgs. Young Adult
In 1985, eleven-year-old Salva is caught up in the middle of the Second Sudanese Civil War and is forced out of his community and begins a long walk to safety. In 2008, Nya is a young girl who walks eight hours every day, making two round trips to get water for her family. Here, their stories are interwoven.
Salva's story is interesting and sparked my interest in Sudan, the Sudanese Civil Wars, and the Lost Boys (displaced Sudanese young men). His story was inspiring, and weaving it in with Nya's story shows how Salva could impact future generations. However, as far as fiction reading goes, this wasn't the most gripping presentation. Salva's story is important, but the writing style was more like a nonfiction book, spanning many years without very much character development. I didn't feel like I ever really got to know Salva very well (or Nya). Also, the story is based on a true story, and while there is some information about the real-life Salva, no information is ever provided about Nya, leaving me wondering if she's a real Sudanese girl or if she's simply a representation of Sudanese children in contemporary Sudan. I still recommend the book because I think it's an important story, but readers should be prepared for a book that feels more like a report than a story.