Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

“A Long Walk To Water,” by Linda Sue Park

“A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park

Clarion, 2010

I first read Linda Sue Park’s Newbery-award winning “A Single Shard” back in 2003 after I quit my newspaper reporting job and decided to plunge into the world of children’s literature. Now, eight years later, this new work feels even finer, somehow, a new accomplishment from a children’s writing master. The slim, gently fictionalized account features Salva Dut, a real man from Sudan, Africa. Forced from his village by a raging civil war in 1985, he departs on “a long walk to water,” a journey by foot, past hunger, thirst, grief and fear and desolation, toward decency, freedom and love. The parallel narrative also features a fictional girl from the present time, a young Sudanese villager who  must trek across dry hot land for eight hours every single day to fetch clean water for her family. The two stories are sparingly told, and intertwine most elegantly at the end. The book sheds light on a time and a place not much talked about. What do you know of Sudan, Africa’s largest country?

I didn’t know much — if anything, until I picked up Ms. Park’s latest story.

But in addition to showing us the time and the place, “A Long Walk To Water” reveals precious glimpses into the strength of the human spirit and the amazing triumph of goodwill over hate.

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February 20, 2011 - Posted by | Book Impressions | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Oh, see now? I want to read this! Thanks for hooking me!

    I don’t know much about Sudan either but I treasure the fact that I have water at my fingertip. Water is clearly a necessity but it has so many luxurious aspects to it and I need to be reminded that not everyone has it so readily available.

    Comment by Joyce Moyer Hostetter | February 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Do please let me know what you think after you read. For me, the most amazing discovery about this book is how when everything is taken away, some people aren’t able to keep their humanity, but others (like Salva) only grow and create life out of ruin.

      Comment by Katia Raina | February 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. I read this last year and thought it was fantastic. The end was breathtaking.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | February 23, 2011 | Reply

    • I think the fact that it was short and condensed contributed to the breathtaking effect. So few pages packing so much power.

      Comment by Katia Raina | February 23, 2011 | Reply


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