The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís

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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 the country. 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.

Title : The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0374347018
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 56 pages


karen rated it ★★★★☆

July 05, 2009

wow. i truly do underestimate the sophistication of childrens books. and even uninformed adults can learn things! (like i didnt know allen ginsberg had been deported from prague for subversion.)this book really does a good job of explaining to kids what it was like to live with so many restrictio...

Eve rated it ★★★★★

December 06, 2017

Iron Curtain: The boundary that symbolically, ideologically, and physically divided Europe into two separate areas after World War II. Cold War: The geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle that emerged between capitalism and communism from 1945 to 1991. Communism: The ideology of the Sovi...

Betsy rated it ★★★★☆

August 14, 2007

Totalitarian regimes make for good children’s books. They just do. What could be more inherently exciting plot-wise than a world in which you never know who to trust? Where children report parents to the police and freedom and creativity are stifled under the boots of oppressors? That makes for g...

Manybooks rated it ★☆☆☆☆

September 11, 2017

Please note that while I am most definitely left of centre economically and consider myself a social democrat, I have actually politically NEVER been in any manner enamoured of Communism (especially Stalinism) and its state-run generally dictatorial collectivism and have therefore and for that ve...

Rfrancik rated it ★★★★★

October 30, 2008

Caldecott honor book and winner of the Robert Sibert Medal this incredibly detailed book functions on a number of levels. It is simultaneously; a written history of Czechoslovakia twice invaded by the Soviets, an autobiography of the author’s life behind the Iron Curtain and a graphic novel detai...

Greg rated it ★★★☆☆

July 05, 2009

This is kind of like a Kundera novel for kids, but told with lots of pictures and not so many words. Better than some of the Kundera books I have read, like say Immortality, but not others. Is it right to even be comparing Kundera to a children's book? Not growing up in a totalitarian regime, I d...

Patrick rated it ★★★★★

February 15, 2014

This book is simply fantastic. For anyone who wants to know what life was really like growing up behind the iron curtain in general, or more specifically in Czechoslovakia. For anyone who wants their kids to know what communism really means. For anyone who enjoys wonderfully perceptive drawings, ho...

Marta rated it ★★★★★

March 18, 2015

It goes without saying The Wall is a valuable history lesson, but also a blueprint for an emotional story of a young man whose imagination and creativity allowed him to endure the times of political hardship. The colours in the book are one of the main sources of emotional messages. The red Sovie...

Karrie rated it ★★★★★

February 05, 2009

As I read The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis, I was thinking back to my visit to Prague a few years ago and tried to imagine what it must have been like to grow up there when Peter Sis did. The Prague I saw was nothing like the government controlled, society censored, and c...

Malbadeen rated it ★★★★☆

July 20, 2009

I'm not a huge fan of Peter Sis, I do that ubiquitous "I appreciate his work but don't really enjoy it personally thing" that I hope covers me should not loving him be the un-cool thing I kind of think it is. One of the things I don't like about his work is it is usually soooooo wordy. To me, his...

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