Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time

by Linda Sue Park and Brian Pinkney

Nya is annoyed that her younger sister, Akeer, is dragging her feet as they make... read more

Nya is annoyed that her younger sister, Akeer, is dragging her feet as they make the long walk to the water hole. Nya encourages her by singing and then playing the clapping game and they finally arrive and fill the jerry can. But Akeer is even slower on the way back, and Nya realizes the little girl is sick. There’s still a long way to go before they’re home and Nya can’t leave her sister alone, but carrying Akeer and the water is too heavy. She dumps half the water and picks up her sister. By setting one near goal after another (reaching the tamarind tree, then the thorn bushes, next the old stump), Nya perseveres, finally arriving back at the village and her mother. But the journey isn’t done, because now the family must walk to the clinic. Despite her exhaustion, Nya realizes she can go on, “As long as I go a step at a time.” The tension of the story is heightened by swirls of color in sun-baked shades of yellow, ocher, and brown, while concluding lines assure that Akeer is alright, adding that a well installed in the family’s village by Water for South Sudan promises to reduce water-born illness and free girls like Nya and Akeer to go to school. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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