Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

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Water.  In Pinellas County, water is everywhere.  For six months of the year, we get thunderstorms almost every day.  So water is no big deal here.  It is a luxury we take for granted.

An abundance of water is not the reality in much of the world, though.  Even in places where there are copious amounts of rain and streams and lakes, SAFE, CLEAN drinking water can be hard to come by.  For people who live in water-deprived areas, the search for water defines their lives.  This water-driven life is the theme of the book A Long Walk to Water.

The book chronicles the parallel stories of two young people, Nya and Salva, who grow up in war-torn, water-needy Southern Sudan.  The author, Linda Sue Park, skillfully describes the harsh conditions under which they fight to survive.  She weaves the narrative in an easy to read, yet engaging way that keeps the interest of all ages until she arrives at the very satisfying conclusion.

There are two things which, in my opinion, make the story even more compelling.  First, is that it is based on actual events.  The back dust-jacket of the book shows a picture of the author with the real-life Salva. This honest-to-goodness story is all the more special to me because my children and I have lived its reality.  Five of my children were born and orphaned in Uganda, Africa; the country directly south of Sudan.  The adoption process required me and my wife to live in Uganda for 3 months.  We have watched the village children carry the large, yellow, plastic water containers to the stream.  We have walked the dusty roads and felt the blistering African sun beating down on us.  So I can attest to the harsh reality of this story – a harsh reality that makes the ending so much more remarkable.

Which brings us to the second thing that makes the story compelling. The story demonstrates that even one person can make a difference in a world that is all too often cruel and indifferent.  Salva overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles to change his world and Nya’s world, too.  If Salva can do it, so can each and every one of us. I strongly encourage you to check out this book and read it.  It won’t take you too long to read – the book is short.  But the amazing story will make you glad you did.

Check the PPLC Catalog for A Long Walk to Water.

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