by Linda Sue Park
- Nya: An adolescent aged girl who lives in Southern Sudan during 2008. We learn that her daily routine is to go down to the pond and fetch water for her and her family. She would make the tiring journey multiple times a day. Nya lives with her mother and father in their village and has a younger sister, Akeer, who is 5 and a baby brother. Her older brother, Depp hunts with her father frequently. She is also part of the Nuer tribe.
- Salva (Salva Mawien Dut Ariik): A boy living in Southern Sudan in 1985. He is 11 years old and lived at home with his mother, father and siblings until his village was raided while he was at school. Salva had three brothers and two sisters. His two sisters Akit and Agnath. Then his younger brother is Kuol. The civil war outbreak separated him from his family. He is now on his own trying to survive and find his family. Salva also lives in the village of Loun-Ariik.
- Buksa: A young man from the Jur-chol tribe that walks with Salva in the beginning of his journey. He finds the honey comb with Salva and they enjoy a sweet meal for an evening.
- Marial: A boy the same age as Salva and whom he becomes friends with. They both had separated from their familes because of the war and walked with the group. However, Marial does not survive and gets eaten by a lion one night when they are in lion territory.
- Uncle Jewiir: Salva's uncle who he finds on in the group and stays with him for some of the journey. He looks after Salva and keeps him safe while he can. Uncle Jewiir seems like the leader of the group and is respected because he had fought in the war already and had a riffle.
- Mawien Dut: Father of Salva. He has stomach problems and is treated at a hospital where Salva reconnects with him.
- Michael: The young aid worker from Ireland at the IFO Refugee camp in Kenya who taught Salva English and how to play volleyball.
- Chris and Louise: Salva's new parents in America. They take him in and help him in his journey to locate his father and start a public water program.
Discussion Question -
What would you do if you were Nya or Salva and had to survive in these tough conditions?