A Long Walk to Water

Park, Linda Sue

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Long Walk to Water
When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Publisher: New York : Clarion Books, 2010
ISBN: 9780547251271
Branch Call Number: J PARK
Characteristics: 121 p. : map ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Based on the life of Salva Dut, this story weaves together the lives of Salva and Nya. Salva must flee his village in Sudan and walk thousands of miles to safety; Nya lives with her family where she must walk eight hours a day to get water. This short and insightful book describes how one person ... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 10, 2015
  • MichaelRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

If I had to summarize this book's moral of the story in one word it would be "perseverance". More than anything else, Salva displays the difference between giving up and going forward, if only one step at a time. Additionally, Salva displays a great passion for life and wanting to learn as well as making a difference in life and he does all of these things successfully. It's not only a gripping tale, but also a very quick read at only 100+ pages. This book is suitable for people anywhere from elementary school to adulthood.

Dec 28, 2014

Linda Sue Park has weaved two stories into one in this great book. Nya has to walk for two hours each way to get water for her family. She does this twice a day every day. Eight hours a day!

Salva is also walking. Away from his war torn homeland. His journey across Africa from his homeland Sudan to Ethiopia and Kenya is a journey that will take many years. Along the way he encounters many dangers.

This book is a novel but it is based on a true story. It is based around the Second Sudanese Civil War which started in 1983. Millions of people were displaced often unable to return to their homes. Among the displaced there were large groups of boys who becam known as the Lost Boys. This is the story of one of those boys.

Jun 20, 2014
  • violet_hippo_88 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was amazing! Linda Sue Park did a fantastic job describing all of the struggles and obstacles, both mental and physical, that Salva had to endure. This book is definitely worth reading, especially due to its being based on a true story.

May 21, 2014
  • turbopip rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book is choppy, stilted and lacking in the sort of detail which might make the story engaging and informative.

May 07, 2014
  • TimothyYitianChen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is awesome! My teacher is reading this in class!

Mar 26, 2014
  • NorthernRose rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I had been looking forward to reading this book and really expected to like it. I was, however quite disappointed upon reading it. Although, I love the idea of the book-relating the story of Salva Dut of southern Sudan during the time of the civil war, and showing how he later returned to try to help his Sudanese countrymen, I found the text to be too chopped up and was not drawn in to the story. I do not feel that I gained any more insight into this time and place than I had had before.

Sep 27, 2013
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A children's book that can be enjoyed by teens or adults as well. The book describes the life experience for one young boy growing up during the Sudanese civil war. Based on the life of activist Salva Dut, it is a very inspiring story. The author does a good job of taking a troubling story and making it appropriate for children without diminishing the tragedy of the situation.

Aug 08, 2012

An awe-inspiring novel about what the power of hard work and dedication to a cause can help.

Apr 25, 2012
  • cowz rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Hi i'm awesome! This book was sad yet a little scary.

Feb 20, 2012

Based on a true story, this book relays the moving experiences of Salva Dut; one of thousands of boys orphaned by the fighting in the country of Sudan in Africa during the 1980s and 90s. Known as the ‘Lost Boys,’ these young men walked through some of the worst conditions on Earth in order to find safe haven in the neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya. On the day the fighting comes to the village where he goes to school, Salva is told by his teacher to run and not look back. Not knowing if he’ll ever see his family again, Salva does as he’s told and runs, eventually joining a group of other displaced Sudanese fleeing the war. With no food, almost no water, and only the flimsy clothes on his back Salva begins the grueling task of crossing the Nile in a man-made boat, then walking for three days across the desert until finally finding sanctuary in a filthy, overcrowded refugee camp where he will stay for years. But this book is more than the story of Salva’s survival. It is also the story of Nya, a young African girl living in modern-day Sudan, who must walk for miles and miles each and every day to gather water for her family. For eight hours everyday she walks to and from the nearest pond just so her family can have water to drink and cook with, even if the water is brown with mud and even if it is known to cause illness. As horrible as the lives of Nya and Salva may sound to us, though, the story of how their fates eventually collide is so full of inspiration and redemption that you will not finish it feeling sad but full of hope. A highly recommended read!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

May 07, 2014
  • TimothyYitianChen rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

TimothyYitianChen thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jan 19, 2013
  • angelflyer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

angelflyer thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Aug 18, 2011
  • becker rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

becker thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Summary

Jun 20, 2014
  • violet_hippo_88 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

To make it short and simple, this book is about a boy named Salva and his life story of escaping the war in Sudan.


Add a Quote

Jun 20, 2014
  • violet_hippo_88 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Reading for writers is like training for athletes.”
― Linda Sue Park, A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at SPL


Explore Further

Browse the Shelf
Get NoveList Reading Recommendations

Subject Headings