A Long Walk to Water – Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Today I am participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which celebrates diversity in children’s literature.  The event is co-hosted by Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.  Around 60 bloggers have signed up to participate.  Please visit the site mentioned above to view the many books reviewed.

Long Walk to Water9780547577319_p0_v1_s260x420A Long Walk to Water

Linda Sue Park, Author

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Historical Fiction, Oct. 14, 2011

Suitable for Ages: 10-14

Themes: Refugees, Survival, Sudan, War, Water

SynopsisA Long Walk to Water is narrated in alternating chapters by two 11-year-old children who live in the Sudan two decades apart. Nya’s story is told in 2008 and Salva’s story is told in 1985. Nya spends nearly eight hours everyday walking to a pond to fetch dirty water in a container for her family. She makes the trip twice daily and it prevents her from ever attending school. Salva is attending school when war breaks out in his village. He and the school children run deep into the forest so they aren’t killed by rebels. He is separated from his family and makes a long journey fraught with danger — rebel armies, lions, crocodiles, and desserts — to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He later leads 150 boys to safety in Kenya. Salva is among 3,800 “lost boys” of Sudan who make it to freedom and a new life in America. His path crosses Nya’s in an amazing way many years later.

Why I like this book:  Linda Sue Park gives her readers an extraordinary perspective about the brutal Sudanese conflict. It is a true and gripping story based on the childhood experiences of Salva Dut, an 11-year-old boy from the Sudan, who suffers great hardships when he flees from his home when it is attacked. Not only does he survive such a brutal ordeal, he gives back to his country in a remarkable way years later. Park said A Long Walk to Water made the New York Times Bestseller’s list three years after it was published because “the book spread quickly by word of mouth among teachers and librarians.” It is required reading this year for 7th graders living in New York. Park wrote this book because “I want young readers to know that there are people like Salva in this world, to admire and emulate however they can.” Click here to visit Linda Sue Park’s website. She is also a Newbery Medalist for A Single Shard, and the author of the  Xander’s Panda Party, 2013.

Resources:  You can learn more about the lifesaving work Salva is doing today in Sudan by visiting his website Water for Sudan.  Listen to the interview with Linda Sue Park and Salva.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

51 thoughts on “A Long Walk to Water – Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  1. This looks like a really important read. I just started “sponsoring” someone in the Sudan via Women for Women International. I’ll definitely read this as part of my education. I had heard of it, but your description has me moving it up the TBR pile. Thanks!


  2. This book has been on my list for awhile now. I think it’s time to move it to the top. Thank you for a wonderful post and for celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book day with us.


  3. Patricia, that sounds amazing! My daughters are still too young for this, but a great book to keep on the horizons for the future. Almost reviewed “The Paper House” by Lois Peterson, a book for ages 8-11 yrs. Great way to introduce kids to the hardships in other countries.


  4. Hi Patricia, This sounds like a very moving story. I did some work as a health researcher studying the AIDS epidemic in Uganda and learned so much about life in these conflict-ridden countries. It is absolutely heart-breaking. I do think it is important for children (albeit when they are older as you suggest above) to be aware of the brutal conditions children in other parts of the world live in on a daily basis. Great choice and thanks for sharing it in the MCCBD. 🙂


    • Renee, it is a moving story. Your work in Uganda sounded very interesting and you must have seen so much. You may want to conside “The Paper House” by Lois Peterson for ages 8-11 yrs. It’s a quick read and introduces kids to the problems of children living in African slums.


  5. Pingback: Celebrating Diversity in Children's Literature

  6. This looks like a wonderful story. It reminded me so much of the times I spent in Kenya and Sudan when Sudan was at war during the nineties. The lives of people were so harsh, and getting water or an education was such a struggle for so many. Sudan has lost at least two generations. And we have so many stories of people that we were involved in helping to escape to America or the UK for varying reasons.


    • Yes, there has been a lot written about the lost boys. But, this story really shows the resilience of one of those boys, Salva, who becomes a leader and finds a way to go back and make his homeland a better place.


  7. This looks amazing, thank you for sharing. I am adding this to my summer list- have been looking for books to read aloud to my 16 y.o. and this looks like it would be a great one to promote discussion!


  8. I’m so glad I popped by – your reviews are so well written and thought out, and I have already placed a hold on this book from our library – it sounds like a great, and important, read to have with my daughters. Thanks for including the extra resources as well!


    • Mia, I enjoyed participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I’ve met many bloggers, with still more to meet. I look forward to a future relationship with you. Thank you for sharing BROTHERS IN HOPE with me. I just read your post and the books do compliment one another. I’m glad to know your daughter had the opportunity to meet one of the “lost boys.” Their resilience and desire to help their homeland is remarkable. I’m glad to know there is a PB!


  9. Pingback: Multicultural Children's Book Day: A Recap and Some REALLY Big Thank Yous - Jump Into A Book

  10. Pingback: Highlighting Multicultural Children’s Books & Kid Lit Blog Hop | PragmaticMom

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