Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2019 It’s a typical day for Nya and her little sister, Akeer, as they walk half a morning to get water from the water hole. When Akeer suddenly lacks her usual spunk, dragging her feet and complaining of being tired, Nya realizes that her sister is ill. One painful step at a time, Nya carries both Akeer and their water the long distance home. Newbery medalist Park returns to the theme of her acclaimed novel A Long Walk to Water (2010), bringing a tender sensibility to this blend of fiction and reality that brings home the visceral fragility of living without access to fresh, clean water. Pinkney’s impressionistic swirls add levity without compromising the gravity of lives like Nya’s. At the end, the tale shifts to an expository account of the work of Salva Dut, who heads the Water for South Sudan organization. Young readers will be moved to wonder more about waterborne illnesses, water scarcity, and Salva Dut’s work that has radically changed the lives of Sudanese girls and women. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2019 Gr 1–4—Nya lives in a village in South Sudan without easy access to clean water. With her younger sister Akeer, she sets out on the long trek to the water hole. Akeer is unusually slow and out of temper. As Nya finally reaches the water, she realizes that her sister is frighteningly ill. Far from the village, Nya has no choice but to carry both the water and her sister to find help. The weight is a burden Nya can barely manage, but she fights through the fatigue with small goals—making it to a thorn bush and then a stump—anything to keep herself going. Nya demonstrates extraordinary strength and perseverance in the face of daunting challenges. The story concludes with Nya's family setting off in search of medical attention, which may feel like a cliff-hanger to some readers. However, an epilogue assures young readers of Akeer's recovery while also explaining the humanitarian efforts of a nonprofit organization called Water for South Sudan. This isn't the first time Nya's experiences have been put to the page. She was a feature character in the author's middle grade novel A Long Walk to Water. As this new picture book companion lacks the depth of detail included in the novel, younger children may benefit from additional discussion regarding the geography, culture, and socioeconomic conditions of South Sudan. Regardless, many children will realize (likely for the first time) that not all children have access to such basic necessities as clean drinking water. The illustrations beautifully capture life in a small South Sudanese village and earth-toned swirls create a lovely impression of dust and heat. VERDICT A thought-provoking story to inspire empathy and social consciousness.—Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State University, OH - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.