Linda Sue Park: Empathize and Make Your World A Better Place

INTERMEDIATE & MIDDLE SCHOOL ACTIVITY

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN? WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

Social justice learning and actions that can be taken close at hand during these uncertain times

Meet Linda Sue Park, author two Jane Addams Children’s Book Award titles for Older Children, ‘My Name is Keko’ a 2003 honor title and ‘A Long Walk to Water’ the 2011 winning title….

 

Read summary of ‘A Long Walk to Water’…

A Long Walk to Water: This compelling story is told from two perspectives. One is the voice of Salva Dut, a former ‘lost boy’ who was orphaned and forced to flee because of the 1985-2005 Sudanese Civil War. The other voice is Nya, a character the author created to represent the children in a remote Sudanese village today. Nya’s daily life consists of traveling back and forth, eight miles a day, to haul potable water for her family – a task that makes school an impossibility. Park’s dual narrative exposes the danger, despair and death suffered by Salva and the other lost boys as well as the constant struggle of the Sudanese people, especially children, to obtain water. Ultimately, Salva’s story and Nya’s story intersect, and the ending is one of hope and peace for the people of Sudan. This book is a fascinating and realistic look for older readers at the problems facing children in third-world countries – made even richer by the knowledge that it is a true story.

Watch and listen to an interview of Linda Sue and Salva…

 

Then read the first three chapters of the book. Remember that Salva’s story is taking place in an earlier time than Nya’s and both stories take place when they are children.  Read to imagine each child’s experience for yourself…

A Long Walk to Water – Amazon Excerpt

(Click and then Look Inside the book in the upper right.)

 

NOW LET’S GET TO NEXT STEPS!

Guiding questions for your reading, writing, thinking and acting:

  • Do some reflective writing about what you’ve learned through reading and listening to the interview. Answer these questions as best you can. How did you do imagining the experience of Nya and Salva? What was difficult to imagine? What was most vivid for you? Were you able to empathize, understand and relate to their emotional and physical experience? If you could speak to Nya and Salva, what would you want to ask them? You are welcome to share your thoughts in our comment section (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

 

  • Over the years since A Long Walk to Water was written, many students have done projects to help raise money for Salva’s well drilling in South Sudan. Helping kids in Africa might be hard to do these days, but as Linda Sue said at the end of her interview, when she wrote ‘A Long Walk to Water’ she wanted kids to think, “I can do something like that. I can do something to make my little corner of the world a better place to live.” Salva saw that his country needed wells because he empathized with girls like Nya and their families. What do you see that you wish you could help make better?  Can you empathize with a family member, a friend, or people in your community who are struggling in some way? Maybe because of the pandemic or for some other reason. Go ahead and make a list of three of four things you wish you could change. Then pick one that you can do something about, no matter how small. Do it! Make your corner of the world a better place today.  You are welcome to share your experience of choosing something to do and/or doing it in our comment section below (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

We look forward to hearing from you! 

More WHAT CAN YOU LEARN? WHAT CAN YOU DO? ACTIVITIES FOR INTERMEDIATE AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS AT HOME

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