Author Linda Sue Park’s 2010 novel A Long Walk to Water – based on the life of Salva Dut, one of the “lost boys” of Sudan – has now sold one million copies. To mark the milestone and the book’s impact, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate $15,000 to Salva Dut’s nonprofit, Water for South Sudan.
WFSS provides fresh water to thousands of South Sudanese, and makes it possible for hundreds of children, particularly children, to attend school rather than spend their days walking to wells. Park’s school visits and TED talk have inspired students globally to contribute to WFSS, raising almost $1 million for wells since the book’s publication, according to the organization’s website. HMH’s donation to WFSS in particular will fund the drilling and installation of a new well in South Sudan. The publisher is also launching a matching gift campaign for employees in order to raise an additional $15,000. HMH’s support of WFSS comes out of its corporate social responsibility program, which is dedicated to improving pre K–12 student outcomes in under-resourced communities through a variety of global initiatives.
Park expressed her gratitude at HMH’s gesture in a release, stating “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.” Ellen Archer, president of HMH Trade Publishing, added, “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.”