FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOSTON, MA – Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is marking an important milestone for New York Times Best Seller A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park – over one million copies sold. The book, which has been on the best seller list for more than a year, is based on the life of 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, HMH will make a $15,000 donation to Salva Dut’s nonprofit organization, Water for South Sudan (WFSS), which will fund the drilling and installation of a new well in South Sudan. This source will provide fresh, accessible water to thousands of South Sudanese and allow hundreds of children (especially girls) to attend school regularly, 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 Dut’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 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 from readers 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.”
HMH’s corporate social responsibility program is dedicated to improving PreK-12 student outcomes in under-resourced communities through a variety of global initiatives, including donation of books and learning resources, strategic partnerships with mission-aligned foundations and organizations, and HMH’s Community Investment Councils – local employee committees charged with creating opportunities for volunteerism and impact in the community.
To learn more about A Long Walk to Water, please visit: www.hmhco.com/trade-publishing.
To learn more about Water for South Sudan, please visit: www.waterforsouthsudan.org.
About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom. HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide, while its award-winning children’s books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.
About Water for South Sudan, Inc.
Water for South Sudan, Inc. (WFSS), based in Rochester, New York, USA, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 2003 by former “Lost Boy of Sudan,” Salva Dut.
WFSS delivers direct, transformative and sustainable quality-of-life service to the people of South Sudan by efficiently providing access to clean, safe water and improving hygiene and sanitation practices in areas of great need.
WFSS began drilling in what was then Southern Sudan in 2005. As of August, 2015, WFSS has successfully drilled 259 borehole wells, bringing clean, safe water to remote villages in South Sudan. WFSS recently expanded its operations in South Sudan, moving to a larger compound, hiring a number of South Sudanese to manage operations there, and incorporating hygiene education into its work. WFSS is poised to continue drilling wells and providing hygiene training in remote villages in South Sudan, the newest country in the world.