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The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – August 21, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Everybody is familiar with the saying "we take certain things, like freedom for granted". Peter Sis' book is about living in a country where this self-evident asset did not exist. Bear in mind, the author does not write about some high ideas whose proclamations would endanger the state. He is talking about criticizing government actions within a scope of a neighborly gossip - one cannot complain about the shortages of particular goods, telephones are bugged, certain books and films are banned, press, art and whole culture are censored, foreign radios are jammed, letters are opened and censored, informers are rewarded for snooping etc. "Yes", some readers might say "we already read about it so many times, and the cold war ended seventeen years ago". Of course, books were written about it and some adults even read it, but what is new about this book is its target. It is aimed for the children. The author, a world famous children books illustrator was born in former Czechoslovakia under the Communist regime and he presents the way of life during that terrible period as seen with the children eyes. The book is illustrated with the child -like, but artistic drawings. One might classify it as Comics for the gifted children. Since the facts are refined by the child lenses, I would recommend to read it together with the parents and I am certain that both sides will benefit. Specifically two chapters titled "From my Journals", where the necessary historical ,political events are recorded, could be fully understood only by the High school and higher up students.Read more ›
He was born at the very beginning of The Cold War in Czechoslovakia. A kid with a penchant for drawing, right from the start, we watch as the growth of young Sis is paralleled with the rise of fear in his nation. Peter draws at home and at school and alongside this story we read of the compulsory and discouraged actions both required and prohibited by the government. The drawn sections are broken up by journal entries Sis wrote at the time, reflecting his beliefs and dreams. With the late 1960s, Sis was entranced by Western influences, a dangerous thing at the time. Near the end, Sis dreams of flying away above it all with wings made out of his art. His escape is cemented by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and an Afterword explains how he left and what Prague is like now.
This is certainly an earnest book.Read more ›
The Wall is an important book and had to be told to the world, though many similar stories had been written on the subject. This one adds yet another facet. Again, the illustrations are fabulous, yet for me, personally, opening the book took some time. Apprehensions, goose bumps, unwillingness to relive those times and reopen old wounds...
In another of his books, The Three Golden Keys, on the publisher page is a tiny note: Thank you for a dream J.O.! A nice reminder that Jackie Onassis, who then worked for Doubleday, was an editor of the final outcome. It is somehow missing in his future books :(
So, yes, a good book to read, an important one, and hopefully it will lead to curiosity about his other books. They are too good not to own and collect.
By the way, did you know that Peter Sis made beautiful wall mozaiks for the New York subway station at 86th Street and Lexington? You must see it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Adults tend to believe that political and military decisions begin and end with them. Sis's book echos what is learned in childhood continues on for generations.Published 3 months ago by Michael E. Durham
So, this is fairly obviously not a good pick for a bedtime story. Not because of the content, but because of the picture-to-word balance. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dione Basseri
Very moving book, that covers a wealth of history in a few pages. Bought another one for a deep-thinking grandson.Published 11 months ago by Tom
Absolutely, perfect description and illustration of what it meant to grow up in Communist Czechoslovakia. It is not overly dramatic or sensational. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Elizabeth Matustik
I bought this book for my 5th grade daughter, and it is not possible to read it in the kindle. So sad I just wasted $10. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Maxima
No matter where one grows up, there is always hope and curiosity, love and caring, even within the seeming limits of living behind the Iron Curtain. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Linda
I'm giving this to a friend who grew up in Czechoslovakia at this time but was able to get out. I hope he likes it.Published 17 months ago by Carol A. Case
Fantastic! Takes a delicate subject and makes it upper elementary friendlyPublished 19 months ago by Rachel Rourke
This book is a wonderful account on both child and adult level. It presents the history of eastern Europe during the Cold War era from the perspective of someone who lived there.Published 20 months ago by Ann