A Long Walk to Water Book Summary - A Long Walk to Water Book explained in key points

A Long Walk to Water summary

Linda Sue Park

Brief summary

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a powerful story based on true events in Sudan. It follows the journeys of two young children, Salva and Nya, whose lives are impacted by the lack of access to clean water. A tale of perseverance, hope, and the resilience of the human spirit.

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    A Long Walk to Water
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    A Tale of Two Lives

    In A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, we are introduced to two eleven-year-olds from Sudan, Salva and Nya, whose lives are presented in alternating narratives. Salva's story begins in 1985 during the Sudanese Civil War. One day, while at school, Salva's village is attacked, forcing him to flee and leave his family behind. He embarks on a grueling journey to Ethiopia across harsh landscapes, facing numerous hardships along the way, including dangerous animal encounters and armed rebels.

    Nya's narrative, on the other hand, takes place in 2008. She has a vital but exhausting chore – walking to and from a pond to fetch dirty water for her family. This long, arduous journey takes up a significant portion of her day, hindering her ability to go to school or do anything else.

    Trials and Triumphs

    Salva finds a beacon of hope through the formation of a group with other displaced youths, referred as the 'Lost Boys of Sudan.' Despite the loss of several members, the group provides crucial emotional and physical support as they move through war-torn terrains, desperate for a safe refuge. And while Ethiopia provides a temporary haven, they are soon driven away and forced to head towards Kenya.

    Simultaneously, Nya's life sees a promising change when a mysterious crew arrives in her village. They plan to build a well, a project that can alleviate her daily struggle and give her a chance at a more prosperous life. The parallel lives of Salva and Nya thus highlight the hardships stemmed from the lack of access to clean water, and the ceaseless conflict in Sudan.

    Paths Connected by Water

    Fast forward to the year 2009, Salva, who has since migrated to the United States, founds a non-profit organization, Water for South Sudan. Salva is instrumental in generating funds and resources to drill wells in Sudanese villages. This is where the two narratives finally converge, linking Salva and Nya's lives together.

    The well drilled in Nya's village brings not just clean water but also the promise of a different, better life. Nya can now go to school and get an education. As for Salva, he finally returns to Sudan in search of his family and learns that his father is alive, suffering from water-borne diseases while his mother and sisters perished. This reaffirms his commitment to improving the water situation in Sudan.

    A Journey of Resilience

    In the end, A Long Walk to Water tells a story of transformation. It illustrates the importance of resilience embodied by Salva, and how his journey from a frightened boy to a visionary changemaker brings about a significant positive change in the lives of the Sudanese people. The drilling of the well symbolizes overcoming the physical and metaphorical distances encountered by the characters in the book.

    With a powerful narrative of hope, survival, and dramatic societal change, Linda Sue Park calls for attention to the ongoing issues in Sudan and the significance of water for survival. The book emphasizes that access to clean water can bring about monumental changes in the lives of individuals and their communities, as seen through the lives of Salva and Nya.

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    What is A Long Walk to Water about?

    A Long Walk to Water (2010) by Linda Sue Park tells the captivating story of two young individuals living in different parts of Sudan, whose lives intersect amid the country's ongoing civil war. The book beautifully weaves together their experiences, showcasing the power of hope, resilience, and the unbreakable human spirit.

    Who should read A Long Walk to Water?

    • Readers who want to learn about the experience of living in war-torn Sudan
    • Individuals interested in stories of resilience and hope
    • Those who seek a greater understanding of the global water crisis

    About the Author

    Linda Sue Park is a renowned author of children's literature. Throughout her career, she has written numerous books that have captivated readers of all ages. Notable works include A Single Shard, which won the Newbery Medal, and A Long Walk to Water, which was based on the true story of a Sudanese refugee. With her storytelling skills and ability to tackle important topics with sensitivity, Park continues to make a lasting impact on the literary world.

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