Imagine being only 10 years old, fleeing war torn villages and countries for your very life. No food, water, shelter, or safe haven. With no one to give you comfort. No imagine you have found a friend, and your uncle, but you are still fleeing. War rages all around, there is very little food, and water is a luxury. In 1985, Salva Dut began such a journey, alone, frightened with bullets and bombs going off all around due to civil war in Sudan. He was sternly warned, “Do not return to your village!” Where his Dinka tribe lives, where his family is, one held in high esteem, with many cows to their name. The only family he knows. He longs for answers to unanswerable questions such as: When will I see my family again? Where are we going? What will happen to me?
Now, in 2008, a girl, Nya, spends her whole day fetching water from a pond that is hours’ away from her home: she walks the trip twice a day, every single day. When she isn't walking and carrying water, she is eating a meager meal or even worse digging for filthy water every day just to survive.
This is more than a book about survival, lost boys, and utter poverty. It is a wonderfully expressed tale, based on the true life of Salva Dut. A Long Walk to Water is told in two voices, alternating between times. A heartrending story about the boy, Salva, one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, covering the African continent on foot in search of their families and a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness, attacks by armed rebels, contact with killer lions and crocodiles, not to mention famine and thirst on a daily basis. As a refugee, Salva is a survivor, and a leader. Eventually his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way. 128 pages Ages 10 and up Grades 5 and up
Recommended by: Colette Eason, Librarian, Texas, USA DASL Vice President 11-12'