A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

In 1985, Salva Dut became one of 1,500 of Sudan’s famous “Lost Boys” for 11 long years, walking countless miles east to Ethiopia and later south to Kenya to live in refugee camps much like prisons. Battling crippling fear, starvation, lions, and crocodiles, Salva's amazing journey and story is a triumph of loss, courage, strength, and eventually joy. 

Author, Linda Sue Park, pairs Salva’s story with a contemporary fictional vignette of a young Sudanese girl named Nya in today’s Sudan. Nya’s job in her family is to walk with an empty jug to fetch water from the closest source two hours away.  She must go two times a day, making for a daily long walk to water of eight hours a day.  Because her entire day is spent collecting water, she is denied an education, unlike the village boys.

Park's account of Salva's life is a popular reading selection in schools and is often coordinated with fund raising for Salva's nonprofit organization WATER FOR SOUTH SUDAN. So far, 217 water wells have been installed to date in Sudanese villages with the only requirement being that a school be built nearby, allowing the village's girls to also attend and receive an education.

This is an example of how powerful a book can be, both informing and riveting readers and even inspiring social change.  Empathic literature at its best.

For readers, aged 10-14.  


Thank you, Linda Sue Park!

An inspiring true story that has brought about social change in a faraway part of the world, and one that will undoubtedly have a ripple effect, stretching far beyond that spot on the map.  A must for Empathy Building in elementary and middle school classrooms.

Average: 5 (1 vote)
Linda Sue Park
Book type: 
United States