Based on a true story, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Lexile: 720; Interest Level: Grades 4-8) tells 2 stories, which are ultimately tied together. The first is the story of Salva, an 11-year-old boy who lived in South Sudan, Africa, in 1985. The second is the story of Nya, an 11-year-old girl who lives in South Sudan in 2008.
Salva has to flee from school one day because of the fighting that comes to his village. He is completely separated from his family, not knowing what happened to them, but needing to keep moving to save his own life. Nya can't go to school because twice a day, every day, she must make the walk to the lake to gather water for her family. One trip to the lake takes half of a day.
Braving the hardships of loneliness, hunger, soldiers, and even attacking lions, Salva struggles as one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, traveling across the country looking for family and safety. His story intersects with Nya's in a very interesting way. Readers who enjoy true stories will be intrigued by this 2013 Indian Paintbrush Nominee, as will anyone with an interest of the history of Africa. (128 pages).
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.