Linda Sue Park is an American novelist born on March 25, 1960 in Urbana, Illinois. As a teenager, she was always an avid reader and writer, competing in poetry competitions throughout her adolescence. After graduating high school, she attended Stanford University where she competed on the gymnastics team and majored in English. Park took on a series of odd jobs post-college, including freelance writing, public relations, and teaching. Her foray into novel-writing began with the publication of her first novel, Seesaw Girl (1999), which takes place in 17th century Korea. Park’s novels typically deal with Korean culture and are often classified as historical fiction.
In 2010, Park released A Long Walk to Water, a story that explores the lives of two Sudanese children, Nya and Salva. Salva’s family is ravaged by war and his village is therefore airlifted to the United States for refuge. Accordingly, Salva learns English and pursues an education in his new home. Despite his success in America, he feels a need to return back to his home country and help the people still ravaged by poverty. When Salva returns to Sudan, he encounters one of the local girls, Nya. Their paths interconnect beautifully in this heartwarming story about love and redemption.
Upon its publication, A Long Walk to Water garnered positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It was ultimately nominated for the Kentucky Blue Grass Award as well as the Maine Student Book Award. Publishers Weekly praises Park for “employing well-chosen details and a highly atmospheric setting to underscore both children's struggles to survive.”