Skip to Main Content

Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park

  1. Survival and Resilience: Both Salva and Nya face immense challenges in their lives. How do they demonstrate resilience and determination in the face of adversity? What lessons can be learned from their experiences?

  2. Themes of Water: Water is a central theme in the novel, symbolizing both life and hardship. Discuss the significance of water in Salva's and Nya's lives. How does the lack of access to clean water impact their communities?

  3. Character Development: Trace the character development of Salva and Nya throughout the novel. How do they change and grow as individuals? What pivotal moments contribute to their development?

  4. Cultural and Historical Context: Explore the historical and cultural context of the novel, particularly the Second Sudanese Civil War and its impact on the people of Sudan. How does the author effectively convey the realities of war and displacement through Salva's story?

  5. Perspective and Empathy: The novel alternates between Salva's and Nya's perspectives. How does this dual narrative enhance the reader's understanding of the characters and their experiences? In what ways does it encourage empathy and compassion?

  6. Community and Support: Discuss the importance of community and support in the novel. How do individuals come together to help one another in times of need? What role do acts of kindness and compassion play in Salva's and Nya's journeys?

  7. Education and Empowerment: Education is depicted as a means of empowerment and hope for both Salva and Nya. How do they pursue education despite the challenges they face? What role does education play in shaping their futures?

  8. Identity and Belonging: Salva struggles with his sense of identity and belonging after being separated from his family and homeland. How does he navigate these feelings throughout the novel? In what ways does Nya also grapple with questions of identity?

  9. Humanitarianism and Global Citizenship: "A Long Walk to Water" raises awareness about humanitarian issues and the importance of global citizenship. How does the novel inspire readers to take action and make a difference in the world?

  10. Hope and Resilience: Despite the hardships they endure, both Salva and Nya maintain a sense of hope for the future. How does hope serve as a driving force in their lives? What messages of hope does the novel convey to readers?

Early Life and Education: Linda Sue Park was born on March 25, 1960, in Urbana, Illinois, to Korean immigrant parents. She grew up in various states across the United States, including Illinois, California, and New York. Her experiences as a Korean-American child influenced her writing and sparked her interest in exploring themes of identity, culture, and history in her books.

Park attended Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She later pursued graduate studies at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in English and Irish literature.

Literary Career: Linda Sue Park began her writing career as a poet, publishing her first poetry collection, "Seesaw Girl," in 1999. She then transitioned to writing children's books, drawing inspiration from her own cultural background and experiences.

One of Park's most acclaimed works is "A Single Shard," published in 2001. The novel, set in 12th-century Korea, won the Newbery Medal in 2002 for its rich storytelling and vivid portrayal of historical and cultural themes.

In addition to "A Single Shard," Park has written numerous other award-winning children's books, including "The Kite Fighters," "Project Mulberry," "When My Name Was Keoko," and "A Long Walk to Water." Her books often explore themes of family, identity, resilience, and the power of storytelling.

Legacy and Recognition: Linda Sue Park is widely regarded as a talented and influential author in the realm of children's literature. Her books have received numerous awards and accolades, including the Newbery Medal, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

In addition to her writing, Park is also an active advocate for literacy and diversity in children's literature. She frequently speaks at schools, libraries, and literary events, promoting the importance of reading and cultural representation in books.

Personal Life: Linda Sue Park currently resides in Rochester, New York, with her husband and two children. She continues to write books for children and young adults, exploring a wide range of themes and genres in her storytelling.

Conclusion: Linda Sue Park's diverse background and experiences inform her writing, which has captivated readers of all ages with its emotional depth, cultural richness, and universal themes. Through her books, Park strives to inspire empathy, understanding, and a love of reading in readers around the world.


Westwood Public Library

Main Library

660 High Street
Westwood, MA 02090
Email Main Library

Islington Branch

273 Washington Street
Westwood, MA 02090
Email Branch Library