Nya’s Long Walk to Water: A Step at a Time by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Brian Pinkney is a new book I have been reading with my second and third grade students. These award winners have paired up to create this companion picture book to the middle grade novel, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. It is the story of a girl from South Sudan and her struggle to get fresh water for her family and help her sick sister. Nya’s Long Walk to Water: A Step at a Time has many possible teaching points, from teaching about global citizenship by sparking students’ engagement and curiosity about the world’s water crisis, to the character analysis of Nya and her determination, perseverance and inner strength.
This is a helpful mentor text for teaching characterization. Linda Sue Park highlights Nya’s strength and perseverance. Students used the story as a springboard to writing about a moment when they persevered, or wished they had. This is a great text to use in conjunction with Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai for character comparison and global awareness.
“I remember when I…”
This story inspired some great small moment writing about a time students persevered, or wish they had.
“How can we help?”
This story resonates with younger students. Nya’s struggles are relatable and the information in the conclusion is a call to action. Several students used this story to spark a curiosity research project.