David’s Letter Essay #5: A Long Walk To Water

I have recently finished reading Linda Sue Park’s masterpiece A Long Walk To Water. This slim realistic fiction novel had a page count of 128 pages making it a quick read. The author, Linda Sue Park is an American author who is a winner of the John Newbery award. Other notable novels published by Park are A Single Shard and The 39 Clues, Storm Warning. One of the many reasons I enjoyed reading this book was the style at which it was written. The main reason I chose to read A Long Walk To Water is because I had attempted to in seventh grade but decided to put it off. Another reason I felt a desire to read this is because it had been a winner of the Nutmeg Award and I have heard only great thoughts about this book.

Salva Dut is an 11-year-old boy from South Sudan. One day while at school horror strikes his village. Gun shots. Salva broke off running without turning back, leaving all he had at his village, including his own family. Fortunately for Salva when he arrives at the bush, he meets
a group of people also trying flee from the fighting. His luck soon turns to bad as when he awakes the next morning, he finds that his group had deserted him. Salva stays with a fellow village member who he calls Auntie, until one day she tells him that it is too dangerous for him to travel with her. Before Auntie leaves, she arranges Salva to join a small group of men, and a boy Salva’s age named Marial. Marial was a way for Salva to keep his mind off of the situation they were in. Just as things are starting to give Salva some stability he is thrilled to discover that his Uncle Jewiir had joined his group. Unfortunately this will be the peak of Salva’s happiness, as he discovers that Marial had been killed by a lion. Although Salva has every reason to give up, he shows perseverance and bravery while continuing his journey to Ethiopia.

I like how the author Linda Sue Park described each of the places Salva had been at. Such as the barn Salva has slept at, the author describes its traits and characteristics that helped me paint a picture in my head. I was satisfied with how the author does not just give Salva’s external feelings, but his internal as well. When Salva would talk to himself inside his head, it allowed me to understand the emotions he was feeling. If I were the author I would have added more detail and explanation in the beginning of the book. It states that the fighting had been the government and rebels, but I wish it had given more reasons as to why the violence had been going on. Also, I think if readers had knowledge about Salva’s family then it would cause more emotion.

A short quote from the book that I found rather inspiring was when Salva was with his new group and had begun his walk to Ethiopia.

“Each time Salva would think of his family and his village, he was somehow able to kepp his wounded feet moving forward, one painful step at a time.” (P. 41)

The reason I chose this quote from the novel is because although it is only a line, it shows the true meaning of the entire book. This shows how strong of a person Salva is, that he can not be broken. It also demonstrates the love he has for his family and village, and how just thinking about them gives him a spark of courage and reminds him that he must keep going.

I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 because although it is an emotional book with a powerful message, I thought that it lacked in description for some scenes of the book. Nevertheless, A Long Walk To Water is a book that can inspire, and I believe that everyone should read it.

David C

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3 thoughts on “David’s Letter Essay #5: A Long Walk To Water

  1. Dear David C.,
    I think this essay is very well- written. You explained why you wanted to read the book well (you didn’t complete it in 7th grade, and it was an award- winning book). You also only have a couple formatting/ grammar errors, which is very good. I think you can improve on making the quoted passage a little longer (but it was a very good quote that you selected). I haven’t really read the book, but I think I should consider it.
    -Matt Urso

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