This is a quiet book; it is also an explosive and extremely powerful book. For such a short book, it really packs a huge punch — one that lingers in my mind and makes me want to know more, find out more, and help out if I can!
It is a quiet book because Park reports and does not sensationalize. At times, in the beginning of Salva’s journey, I felt a slight disconnect: I did not feel that his forced exile from his village or even the loss of his new friend are scenes that moved me emotionally. As I kept reading, my mind and my heart mingled: the words that are matter-of-facts also became matter-of-heart and matter-of-wisdom. The portion of the journey involving Salva’s uncle, his guidance, and his death, is the center piece of the tale. I even feel that I’ve learned a precious lesson from his mantra of taking one step at a time, solving one problem at a time — to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles or to achieve seemingly impossible goals.
It is a powerful book because Park manages to tell a harrowing tale to a young audience that will surely stimulate empathy and activism.