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The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain (edition 2007)

by Peter Sís

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80810911,287 (4.12)82
Member:labfs39
Title:The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain
Authors:Peter Sís
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Collections:Read but unowned, East European
Rating:****
Tags:nonfiction, memoir, Czech

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

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Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
In my opinion this a great book to read. The illustrations in this biography helped gain a better understanding of the story. The use of color is very limited in the story because the minimal color represents the hope that Peter Sis has in becoming free. Also the author embedded real photos from his childhood that showed us how a child looked and felt during the Cold War. Also the language of the story was very clear and precise. For example, “He dreamed of being free. Wild dreams…Sometimes dreams come true.” Peter Sis wanted the freedom to draw whatever he liked without the government controlling him. This story shows the reader how the Cold War was a very tough time for children and their families that were governed by Communism. ( )
  eranda2 | Mar 1, 2016 |
This book gives a fascinating glimpse into what life was like for a child growing up behind the "Iron Curtain" in Czechoslovakia. I personally don't know a lot about the history of this time or place, so for me it was interesting to learn about it. I was also interesting to read Sis's unique perspective as an artist who slowly began to rebel against what he was being told.

Curricular connections: could be used in a unit about the Soviet Union, the Cold War, or the Iron Curtain. It is rich enough and goes into enough depth that it could be used with students from about Grade 5 and up. ( )
  linnea_simon | Feb 28, 2016 |
I did not enjoy this story. There was a nice storyline about a boy "escaping" the war by drawing. People tried to stop him from expressing himself, but they couldn't. However, there was a lot of information that confused me and took away from the story line. There were also definitions throughout the book, but they did not always make sense to me. I was really disappointed, especially since this book won 2 awards.
Writing Prompt: What is something you do that helps you to relax and forget what is going on around you? ( )
  MareeTos | Feb 23, 2016 |
I didn't know until I started reading that this book was autobiographical. I really liked his biographies of Galileo and Darwin, so I've been looking up all his other works. His use of illustrations to describe what life was like behind the Iron Curtain is really fantastic. ( )
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
The art and stories of Peter Sis are mesmerizing and magical. In The Wall, I love the way he uses detailed images of people, maps, highlights of red to denote the communist presence, photographs, and excerpts from his journals that tell of his desire to become free and live in America. I am a big fan of Sis, and this story is particularly meaningful as it tells his own personal story.

Curricular connections: Aspects of history and world geography that may not be known to elementary and middle school students today could be explored through Sis's multi-faceted work. Studying the Cold War likely wouldn't occur until at least eighth grade, but concepts could still be explored earlier. I can envision a research project for middle school students involving the idea of censorship, one that would culminate in a persuasive written piece. ( )
  SueStolp | Jan 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2008)
Renowned author and illustrator Peter Sís’ brilliant autobiographical exploration of the creative spirit offers his trademark blend of intricate visual images and narrative. Sís was born in Communist-controlled Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1949 and displayed artistic interests from very early on. His talents were indulged and encouraged within his home. At the same time, creativity and freedom of thought were being repressed in his school and throughout his homeland as the Iron Curtain rose and the Cold War escalated. Sís beautifully outlines the tension between socio-political repression and creativity through journal excerpts, actual drawings from his developing years as an artist, and hauntingly complex images outlining the historical context of turbulent times in Eastern Europe. Each image underscores how he questioned the world around him as a developing child and adolescent, especially as news of Western popular culture filtered through the curtain. Creative expression and opportunity exploded for the author in the spring of 1968, only to be crushed quickly by the totalitarian strong arm. Sís was able to hold on to his dreams, however, fueled by his indomitable spirit and the force of his own imagination. CCBC Category: Historical People, Places, and Events. 2007, Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus and Giroux, 48 pages, $18.00. Age 9 and older.

added by kthomp25 | editCCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2008) (Apr 23, 2010)
 
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Epigraph
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First words
As long as he could remember, he had loved to draw.
Quotations
I find it difficult to explain my childhood; it's hard to put it into words, and since I have always drawn everything, I have tried to draw my life-before America-for them.
p. 47
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374347018, Hardcover)

A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
 
“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.
 
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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:39 -0400)

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 Sis 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. Si;s 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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