Info for Students and Teachers


FAQs for students, teachers, and readers of A LONG WALK TO WATER, by Linda Sue Park (Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)


1.  What is the Iron Giraffe Challenge?

Salva is challenging schools to try to raise $1000 each towards a new drilling rig, or Iron Giraffe, as the villagers call it in A LONG WALK TO WATER.  More details available here, including an opportunity for schools to win a visit by Salva to your school! All schools who raise at least $1000 will be entered into a drawing to win a visit by Salva.  For those who watched the Salva & Linda Sue Park presentation in October, Salva said this in a different way, but we want all to know that only ONE school will win this prize. 

2. How can I get in touch with Salva Dut?

Salva regrets that he cannot answer individual e-mails or letters.  He now lives in South Sudan, having relocated there when his country gained independence in 2011.  Salva visits the US once or twice a year to meet with US operations staff and WFSS Board of Directors in Rochester, NY.

There is a lot of information about him and the organization on this website. He hopes you will enjoy visiting the site to learn about his life and the work of Water for South Sudan. 

You may be interested in ordering a DVD featuring Salva making presentations of his story to children and adults, as well as many of the videos on this website. See excerpts of Salva’s presentations to young children and adults here.

3. How can I get in touch with Linda Sue Park, the author of A LONG WALK TO WATER?

You can write to the following address:

Linda Sue Park
c/o Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003

Please note: Linda Sue does her best to answer all the letters she receives, but sometimes she is traveling and does not always receive her mail promptly. Please be patient! It can take up to two months to receive a reply from her.

4. Can Salva Dut come visit our school or do a Skype call?

Salva is not able to visit individual schools, or do individual skype calls.  He now lives in South Sudan and only visits the US once or twice a year for about two weeks.  We sometimes are able to schedule one or two large group skype calls a year with Salva and schools when he is in the US.  We receive many, many requests for Salva to visit or Skype with students.  Preference is usually given to schools that have done fundraising or plan to do fundraising for WFSS.

If you'd like to learn more about that, please contact our office at  or 585-383-0410.  Thank you for your understanding.

WFSS Speaker's Bureau-- Fill out form here to request a speaker from WFSS.

5. Can Linda Sue Park come visit our school?

Salva now lives in the new country of South Sudan. He visits the US once or twice a year for about two weeks.  He is not able to visit individual schools, but we occasionally are able to schedule group skype calls with Salva and schools.  If you'd like to learn more about that, please contact our office at  or 585-383-0410.

Linda Sue does a few school visits every year, and books those visits at least a year in advance. To find out more about her school visits, click here.

6. We would like to donate money to Water for South Sudan, or help the organization in another way. How can we do that?

It’s great that you want to help! Click here to find out how.

See what others have done: Supporters' Success Stories

See the Fundraiser Support Materials available to you.

You can donate online to WFSS here

Donations to the Iron Giraffe Challenge can be made here.

7. How much does it cost to drill a well?  Can our school get our name on a well?

The full cost to drill a well is about $15,000.  WFSS does offer the possibility of sponsoring a well starting at the $5000 donation level.  Please contact the WFSS office for more information at

8. Is Nya a real person? Can I write to her?

Nya is not a real person. She is a fictional representation of many children who live in South Sudan. If she were a real person, she would be very happy to know that you have read about her and are interested in her story!

9. How old is Salva now? When is his birthday?

Salva was born on December 1, 1974.

10. Can you recommend other books about the Lost Boys?

  • JUST ADD WATER, by Robin Hill and Charles Hall, illustrated by Sherry Stasse Wright.  Salva Dut's story written for younger readers, grades three to six. Ordering  information here.
  • THEY POURED FIRE ON US FROM THE SKY, by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng, and Judy Bernstein. Adult memoir by three ‘Lost Boys’. Advanced middle-school readers and up.
  • WHAT IS THE WHAT, by Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng. Adult novel re-creating the story of a ‘Lost Boy’ refugee who settled in Atlanta. High school and up.
  • BROTHERS IN HOPE, by Mary Williams, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Picture book, ages 9-12.
  • GOD GREW TIRED OF US: A MEMOIR, by John Bul Dau and Michael S. Sweeney. This is a stark, first-person account of trauma and survival. Dau tells it quietly, in fast, simple prose true to the young teen's viewpoint. There is also a Sundance award winning film by the same tile featuring John Bul Dau.


You might also be interested in new movie, The Good Lie, an account of the Lost Boys who came to the U.S., starring Reese Witherspoon, and opening in October, 2014.


8. Additional Info:

An interview with Author Linda Sue Park and Salva Dut

Book Reviews