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An inspiring story of overcoming hardship

Book Review: Must Reads For Youth

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (ages 11+):

Must Reads For Youth

Welcome to my Must Reads For Youth weekly book review. I simply love books, and am excited that The Royal Gazette is partnering with me to help share my reviews of great books. As a young reader, I have found that the most common reason as to why many young people stop reading is because they either do not know what to read or have not found books that they really enjoyed. My aim is to change that. Happy reading!

A Long Walk to Water is based on the true story of Salva Dut, one of some 3,800 Sudanese Lost Boys airlifted to America in the mid-1990s.

The author, Linda Sue Park, tells Salva’s story as a dual narrative along with that of a girl named Nya.

This 117-page novel follows Salva through separation from his family because of the First Sudanese Civil War, walking with 20,000 other boys to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, surviving starvation, animal attacks and disease.

He ultimately led a group of 1,500 boys to safety in Kenya in an 800-mile trek through the Southern Sudan desert.

Both main characters are 11 years old at the start of the book. The young protagonists overcoming hardships and finding solutions is especially inspiring for young readers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the growing intersections between the two narratives, and the theme of never giving up.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the Sudanese Lost Boys, as well as anyone who wants to be motivated by a story of heartfelt heroism – perseverance against all odds, no matter your age.

This book is particularly relevant given the ongoing wars around the world: recognising the human cost of these conflicts aids our understanding of how they are experienced on an individual level.

Salva and Nya’s story reminds us of the importance of family and hope, as these ideals propelled them to create better lives for themselves and others.

In countries such as Bermuda, we tend to take essential resources for granted. Great books like A Long Walk to Water help us remain grateful for what we have and aid the have-nots.

Salva Dut’s organisation, Water for South Sudan, improves water wells, hygiene, sanitation and more for local populations – you can donate today at https://www.waterforsouthsudan.org/donate.

Marli Spriggs is the head girl at Bermuda High School, founder of BookSpace and winner of the 2021 Bermuda Economic Development Corporation Student Rocket Pitch competition

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Published January 30, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated January 30, 2023 at 7:59 am)

An inspiring story of overcoming hardship

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