Not the first time, and hopefully not the last?

For the past two years or so, I’ve been humbled and honored by the many schools that have chosen to read A LONG WALK TO WATER.

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The students’ response to the story of Salva Dut, one of the so-called ‘Lost Boys’ of Sudan, has exceeded all my expectations. I’d hoped young readers would learn a tiny bit about a little-known part of the world. They’ve gone far beyond that: They’ve come to admire Salva, and to turn inspiration into action.

Here’s just one of many examples–a note I received from librarian Donn Riggi, Alden Middle School in western New York:

“I have an update on last year’s A Long Walk to Water project!

As reported last year, Alden Middle School did a school-wide read of A Long Walk to Water, culminating with a visit from Linda Sue Park in December. Our school decided to devote all fund-raising last year to Water for Sudan, in the hopes of helping to build a well. We were successful in raising over $5000 and sent a check to them at the end of the school year. We just received a letter and photos of the well we helped to build in South Sudan. It is located in the village of Mathel Teng, in Tonj East County. We are thrilled to have been successful in helping this village have access to clean water.

And to think it all started with reading a special book!”

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Villagers with their new well, dedicated in honor of Alden Middle School.

Several dozen of the wells installed by Salva’s organization, Water For South Sudan, were made possible through funds raised by schools whose students read A LONG WALK TO WATER. Young readers inspired to save lives: Does it get any better than that!?