A Long Walk to Water - based on a true story
By Linda Sue Park
1. Why does the author use different styles of print and different time periods in the same
chapter? What can be learned from this style of writing?
2. Describe Salva as a student, his school and what he learns. Can you make any
3. Describe Salva’s family and home life. Is it anything like your own?
4. What are the issues for which the rebels are fighting the government? What does it mean
for Sudan to become Muslim?
5. Why does the teacher urge them to “run into the bush.”
6. What are you wondering about as this chapter ends?
1. How does Nya spend her time?
2. What is happening around Salva as he runs away from the school?
3. What three questions occupy Salva’s thoughts? Can you answer Salva’s questions?
4. When the people organize by village, what does Salva discover?
5. Describe the rebels. How do their appearance and actions affect the people?
6. Does Salva consider himself a man? Do the rebels consider Salva a man?
7. Why does the group leave the rebels? Why do they leave Salva in the barn the next
8. Can you imagine how Salva is feeling at the end of this chapter? Where is he?
1. In each of the chapters so far, the author tells Nya’s story first. Why do you think she does
2. What has been the purpose of Nya’s journey every day?
3. What is Salva’s situation? Why doesn’t he return to his school?
4. How does the woman from the Jur-chol tribe help him? What is the history between the
Nuers and the Dinka tribe? Why is Salva insulted to be called an orphan?
5. Why must the old woman move on? Couldn’t she take Salva along?
6. How do tribes tell themselves apart from one another?
7. Salva’s hopes rise and then fall. Do you think finding other Dinkas will be the answer he is
1. What additional information did you learn about Nya in this chapter?
2. Why doesn’t the group want Salva along? Why is he ultimately taken along by the man and
3. What does it mean they are “walking to nowhere”? How do they survive?
4. Why do the boys, Buksa and Salva, fall behind? What have they discovered?
5. Can an entire group of people exist on this?
6. What questions would you like answered in the next chapter?
1. Explain how water dictates Nya’s life everyday.
2. How was the honey worth it for Salva and the others in his group? What was the cost?
3. What do Salva and Marial have in common? What does it mean that Salva “heard that sigh
all the way to his heart?”
4. Why is Salva dismayed that they are walking to Ethiopia, east? How are the boys good for
5. Describe the Atuot people. Would you fear them?
6. Salva is amazed at the end of this chapter. Predict the cause of his speechlessness
1. Nya and her mother think differently about the camp. Explain. Would Nya and Salva have
been friends if they knew each other in the same time? Explain.
2. Finally, something good happens for Salva. Explain. How does this make a difference for
3. Why does everyone in the group become nauseous? Could they have avoided this
4. List all the elements working against their survival.
5. What does it mean: “A cold fist seemed to grip Salva’s heart.”? What has happened?
6. If you had to choose to be Nya or Salva, explain whose shoes you would rather walk in.
Explain your choice.
1. What is wrong with Akeer? What are her symptoms? What is the choice facing the family?
What would you do?
2. How do they know a lion took Marial? How is it possible that no one heard anything?
3. How does the loss of his friend affect Salva? How does uncle soothe him?
4. What changes as the group approaches the Nile? How do they get across?
5. What is the secret of making the canoes?
6. What would you like to learn in the next chapter?
1. Explain how Akeer’s laugh “was like music.” What caused her illness? Is the solution
within the means of the family?
2. What wonders were found on the island?
3. How do the villagers get food without any money?
4. Why don’t they become nauseous again with this food?
5. Describe Salva’s good memories.
6. What do the fishermen know about the night that the travelers do not? How are they
7. Of all the elements Salva has faced, which do you think is the worst? How could the Akobo
Desert that lies ahead be the worst?
1. How does the village chief welcome strangers? What do you think they want?
2. How is the Akobo the worst element yet for the villagers to survive?
3. How does uncle encourage Salva to keep walking? What might have happened to Salva
without his uncle? How could you apply Uncle’s strategy in your own life?
4. What do they find when they reach other people in the desert?
5. What is the choice faced here? Would you give water to the men? What is the right thing
6. Will some have to die for the others to survive?
1. What do the two strangers want from Nya’s chief? If they find water, how will it change
2. Did Salva give his water to the men? Did anyone? What were the results? Who was
3. What happened to the village of Lou Ariik?
4. What will happen when the group reaches Ethiopia? What are uncle’s plans?
5. What are the chances that Salva will ever find his family?
6. Where did the six men come from? Why did they single out uncle? What does it mean,
“There was something evil in their laughter.”?
7. What does the ending of this chapter mean for Salva?
1. What will it mean if water is not found in the land between the trees?
2. What happened to uncle? How does this affect Salva? How does the group attitude
3. What are the positive and negative aspects of the refugee camp? Is Salva happy to finally
4. What does the orange scarf mean to Salva?
5. How would you like this chapter to end for Salva?
1. What is the red, iron giraffe? What part do the villagers play in the progress?
2. How does it feel to Salva to be without a family? What has he lost?
3. What does Salva decide to do to survive?
4. How does school look in the refugee camp? Why does he go?
5. How have things changed in the camp in six years? Why is it closing?
6. What is the purpose of any government? What will be the outcome of the government’s
1. What things make this drilling so difficult? What keeps people going in times of adversity?
2. What is the government trying to do by driving the people into the water?
3. Why are the soldiers shooting? What are all the obstacles to survival for these people?
4. Does Salva have a duty to the others, especially the boy clinging to him? Why was Salva
one of the lucky ones and not one of the thousands who died?
5. Would you follow Salva? Why did he become a leader? What do the boys hope to find in
Kenya? How do they organize?
6. How do they find the strength to go on? How do they last a year and a half?
7. What do you expect their life to be like in Kenya?
1. Why does the village celebrate? What could it mean that the new water is full of mud?
2. Describe the misery at Kakuma. How does the population of Kakuma compare to the
population in your own community?
3. How were the conditions different at the camp in Ifo?
4. What must it have been like with nothing to do day after day but wait?
5. Ideally what does Salva want?
6. What are the restrictions to a boy “getting on the list' to go to America?
7. What does the author mean “sometimes he felt he was being torn in two by the hoping and
8. What does it mean to Salva that he will go to America?
1. Why can’t the boys drink the water spraying from the hole? When will Nya lose her job?
2. What was involved in the Lost Boys coming to America? Do you think that is a good name
for them? If not, what would you call them?
3. Why would people from America want to help these boys? Can they replace the boy’s
4. Explain Salva’s experiences with clothes, coca-cola, the plane, winter.
5. Would this be easier if Salva really was a boy instead of an adult?
6. Will it ever be possible for Salva to reconnect with any of his birth family?
1. What is your best guess on what the men are going to build?
2. By opening his email, what does Salva show you about his development in America?
3. What are the difficulties involved in Salva reconnecting with his father?
4. What are the many risks Salva is taking in order to find his father?
5. Write as many “what ifs” as you can at the end of this chapter. (Example: What if Salva’s
father has died? What if Salva is not allowed to return to the US?)
6. What would you like to see happen in the next chapter?
1. How close were your predictions on what building would be put up first? Why does Nya
ask if the girls can go to school too? How does having water change everything for her
2. Was the reunion of Salva and his father what you expected? Explain.
3. How is it possible that so much of his family is still alive? Why didn’t they give up hope?
4. Should Salva take the risk and return to Lou Ariik? Would you?
5. What do you believe his idea is to help his people?
6. Why is Salva the best person to speak about his idea? Does his audience care about his
7. What would make people donate money to Salva?
1. Describe Nya’s experience of the water.
2. What does the well mean to the people of southern Sudan? How did it get its name?
3. In every chapter until now, the story structure included two time periods. Why is this last
chapter set only in 2009? Why is the chapter printed only in regular print instead of starting
4. Why was the boss of the workers not identified as Dinka earlier?
5. “Why would a Dinka bring water to us?” How would you answer Nya’s question?
6. Do you expect any changes between the Nuer and Dinka because of this?
Clean Water Book Creator or Google Slides
- List the MAIN countries that deal with clean water issues
- List and describe health issues resulting from unclean water
- List and describe ways water can be purified (for personal water purification. Look at products at www.rei.com.
- List and describe several organizations that are working to provide clean water.
- What are some similarities and differences in these organizations?
- What methods are they using? (different types of wells, etc)
- Describe YOUR possible solution
- List internet sources used in your research
- Include pictures, data graphs, etc.