A LONG WALK TO WATER Sells Over One Million Copies, Generates $1 Million in Donations

Water for South Sudan (WFSS), congratulates author Linda Sue Park on the amazing milestone of selling over one million copies of her New York Times Best Seller A Long Walk to Water. The book, which has been on the best seller list for more than a year, is based on the life of WFSS Founder Salva Dut, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, and brings authentic images of conflict, environmental challenges, and survival into focus for young readers.

To celebrate the book’s impact, the publisher, global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is marking the milestone by making a $15,000 donation to WFSS which will fund the drilling and installation of a new well in South Sudan. This source will provide fresh, accessible water to at least one thousand South Sudanese and allow children (especially girls) to attend school, rather than spending their days walking to and from the nearest well. HMH is also launching a matching gift campaign for employees in order to raise an additional $15,000 to furnish another well.

"I'm thrilled to have reached this milestone, and so grateful to all the readers who have been inspired by Salva's story,” said award-winning author Linda Sue Park, whose recent TEDx talk – Can a Children’s Book Change the World? – explores the power that reading can hold in a young person’s life. “There are now hundreds of wells in South Sudan that have been sponsored by readers of the book, and I'm deeply moved that HMH is adding to that number.”

First published in 2010 and now a modern classroom classic, A Long Walk to Water recounts Salva’s journey as an eleven-year-old boy being forced from his village by rebels, traveling through hundreds of miles of dangerous terrain patrolled by armed soldiers, leading a group of young boys to safety first in Ethiopia, then in Kenya, and eventually relocating to the United States. This incredible true story is told in alternating sections with the fictional story of Nya, a young girl living in a contemporary Sudanese village that is forever changed when a well is drilled for its community.    

"Water for South Sudan joins in celebrating Linda Sue Park's "million-million" accomplishment: selling over 1 million copies of A Long Walk to Water, which have also generated more than $1 million in donations to our nonprofit organization," said Lynn Malooly, Executive Director,  Water for South Sudan.

“The HMH community is happy to be able to honor Salva and Linda Sue, and all those they have inspired, with our contributions to Water for South Sudan,” said Ellen Archer, President, HMH Trade Publishing. “By bringing safe, clean water sources to communities, WFSS provides multiple gifts to those it serves, including expanded access to education and opportunities for children to thrive. We’re proud that A Long Walk to Water is a part of this larger story and that it continues to touch readers’ lives.”