Park, L. S. (2010). A long walk to water: Based on a true story. New York, NY: Sandpiper.
I first became familiar with A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park through a college class that specialized in teaching social studies in middle school. Though I was not assigned this particular book, I found that my peers’ enjoyment and enthusiasm of this young adult novel piqued my interest. I was absolutely thrilled when I saw that my school bookstore was selling this book for only $5.99, so I jumped at the chance to explore this historical fiction read for myself. What I ended up loving so much about this book was that it’s not only a heart-touching and evocative read, but it raises awareness for a dire cause that is still in need of attention today.
In 1983 the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out between the central Sudanese government in the north and the Liberation Army in the south. From then until 2005, this area of the world was ravaged by hatred, cruelty, and genocide. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is based on the real life experiences of Sudanese native Salva Dut. While some of the details of this novel were fictionalized, the storyline chronicles the outbreak of war in Salva’s village up through his remarkable triumph over adversity and his return home to help people in need.
Nhial, A., & Mills, D. (2004). Lost boy no more: A true story of survival and salvation. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers.
Another great book to read along with A Long Walk to Water is Abraham Nhial and DiAnn Mills’s Lost Boy No More. This novel, though aimed at a slightly older audience, follows a similar story to Salva Dut’s. Abraham Nhial was also a lost boy of Sudan. (This term is given to the hundreds of thousands of young boys like himself and Salva who walked out of Sudan to find safety.) Nhial helps Mills write this biographical account of his journey to faith, safety, and peace. Not only does he share his experiences of leaving Sudan as a young boy, but he also opens up to the reader about how his trials brought him to faith in Jesus. These two novels both shed light on the personal horrors of the Sudanese Civil War.
Yes, the content of these two books can be difficult to swallow. The fact that there is unimaginable suffering and killing going on in our world is never easy to accept. However, these two novels help create hope and a way to help those in need. Visit http://www.waterforsudan.org to see how you can donate money to help supply clean water to an area of the world that is still recovering from its hurts. Read A Long Walk to Water and Lost Boy No More, and take your own journey with the people of Sudan.