The Wall

The Wall

Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain

Book - 2007
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"I was born at the beginning of it all, on the Red side--the Communist side--of the Iron Curtain." Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sís shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain, and news from the West slowly filtered into thecountry. Sís learned about beat poetry, rock 'n' roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola. He let his hair grow long, secretly read banned books, and joined a rock band. Then came the Prague Spring of 1968, and for a teenager who wanted to see the world and meet the Beatles, this was a magical time. It was short-lived, however, brought to a sudden and brutal end by the Soviet-led invasion. But this brief flowering had provided a glimpse of new possibilities--creativity could be discouraged but not easily killed.

By joining memory and history, Sís takes us on his extraordinary journey: from infant with paintbrush in hand to young man borne aloft by the wings of his art. This title has Common Core connections.

The Wall is a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, a 2008 Caldecott Honor Book, a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year, the winner of the 2008 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, and a nominee for the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids.

Publisher: New York, NY : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374347017
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm


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Aug 13, 2018

I’m just a little younger than the author, and can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten. I thought the book was great, but rushed thru 1977 to 1989. He does mention Havel being imprisoned, but then doesn’t mention Solidarity (which I read about every day in my Uni newspaper) and that Havel eventually becomes President.

Jan 20, 2018

This is what you read when children or adults can quite comprehend what happened and why people reacted the way they did. Great for global understanding.

Dec 15, 2014

This was a surprise hit for us--this Peter Sis book fascinates in the way that only a first hand account can. His memories of a childhood in Czechoslovakia are gripping, and his unique illustrations are memorable. Highly recommend this book! I stumbled across this author and now seek out his work. This book makes us all appreciate the freedom of artistic expression and not take it for granted; my kids were fascinated by the idea that Sis was told what he could draw as a child at school. The Prague Spring is beautifully illustrated. SIs is unique and very talented.

Artist Peter Sis draws pictures, accompanied by his journal entries, to show what his life was like in Prague, Czechoslovakia, when it was a Communist country. Picture book format.

Sep 29, 2013

This is a really interesting book written by someone who grew up in a communist country. The drawings are clever and cute. The message is simple. Communism ideals sound alluring to some who have not lived that kind of society, but fall short in many ways. Let us not forget these lessons.

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