A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

4 Stars

A Long Walk to Water tells the true story of a young girl named Nya and a young boy named Salva, one of the lost boys of Sudan. The reader learns about life in war-torn Sudan - the fear, famine and dehydration, the desperation of the Sudanese as they are forced to flee their homes and walk thousands of miles through the hot desert in order to locate one the the refugee camps - where living conditions were also deplorable.

With the belief that his family has been killed, Salva is left alone and must fend for himself.  Though he walks with the others, he is not shown much mercy by the adults.  Silva loses his one friend to a lion who drags the young boy away at night.  Silva knows no matter how difficult things become, he must keep walking or die.  Despite his never-ending thirst, the blistering sand underneath his bare feet, and the gnawing, deep hunger which never goes away, Salva is determined to survive.

Eventually, Salva is chosen by American missionaries to come to America and be sponsored by an American family.  Salva is amazed by the luxuries America can afford him and decides he must return to Sudan in order to share his good fortune and to help his people.  It is during his first trip home where Salva learns his family is still alive, and his life intersects with the young Nya.