I just finished a fabulous book called A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park, the same author that wrote A Single Shard, which I enjoyed very much. At the request of a geography teacher I picked up the book to see whether it would be appropriate for him to use with his students as they explored the continent of Africa and the increasingly hot topic of water in our world.
I loved this little novel. The author uses two voices to tell this tragic but hopeful story, switching between times (the 1980s and the closer present) and characters. The two stories are tied together by the continuing theme of the importance of water in the lives of the characters and are reconnected in the end with a poignant scene. Salva, the main character is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who ended up living in New York near Linda Sue Park who tells his story so well.
While reading, I couldn't help but consider the power of the story to move students to action. This book should encourage students to consider fresh water issues both in Africa and here in the US: how we can get fresh water and how we share it. It also brought to mind for me the plight of the refugee and how ignorant most of us are of our nation's policies, roles, and responsibilities when helping refugees in many war-torn nations. What a great jumping off point this book might be to learn more about what these policies are towards helping refugees, what the needs are, and how we can best support these people who have been through so much already.
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