As an English teacher, it’s probably not a surprise that I read. A lot. I was an avid reader as a child, stowing away in my closet reading everything from Nancy Drew to R.L. Stine’s “Fear Street” series. Whenever I convinced my mom to drive the 30+ miles to the nearest mall with a bookstore (yes, my hometown was that rural!), I would spend my hard-earned allowance on the newest best-sellers for kids my age (this was before YA was actually a genre).
If you’re looking for whole-class novel ideas, literature circle books, or just more novels to add to your classroom library, have a look at what’s “On My Bookshelf.”
By: Linda Sue Park
I love this book, partly because it’s based on a true story. Students always ask me “Is this book real?” and with A Long Walk to Water, I can say, “Yes.”
The story is perfect for teaching point of view, as it is told from two different viewpoints. Nya, who lives in Sudan in the year 2008, makes a daily trek to fetch water. Salva, who becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, travels the African continent on foot as a refugee. Salva’s story is true and is a wonderful way to teach children about empathy and resilience.
You can certainly take this story beyond the classroom and engage your students in some service learning projects about accessibility to clean water.
If you’re looking for a unit that incorporates A Long Walk to Water this unit, on Journeys and Survival is loaded with information. It is geared towards 7th grade, but can definitely be adapted for older or younger students.