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

by Peter Sís

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76410012,134 (4.13)81
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 Sís

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Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
The genre of this book is biography. Sis tells the story of his life, how he had always loved drawing, but growing up behind the Iron Curtain proved to be a daunting way of life. This book takes the reader through a detailed timeline and diary entries of what was going on during the Cold War, and how living in Czechoslovakia during this time was like. Even at times when the government told Peter that he couldn't draw and paint what he wanted, he did it in secret anyway. After many long years, the Wall was taken down in 1989, and freed the people. I would use this book in a 5th grade classroom to discuss the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, and how it came down. ( )
  athena.j | Apr 21, 2015 |
This autobiographical picture book by Peter Sis portrays through beautiful illustrations his growing up in Czechoslovakia during Soviet rule. Although each page is pretty busy, I never felt overwhelmed, and I could see how perfect this book would be for sharing with a child (while you're reading out loud, their eyes are following your words through the pictures). I liked the recurring image of himself throughout holding a work of art along with the piggy policemen, though I hope the adult reading this book to a child would stress that not all officers are bad guys. I also really liked his use of color (and lack thereof) to stress the conflict between conformity and creative freedom.

The pages from his journals help provide more historical context to the book, along with providing drawings and photos that we assume come from around the time period the journal entries were written. Not only that, but the entries allow the reader more insight into the author, Sis, and make him more relatable. While, at first, this book may seem intended for younger audiences, I don't think they'd quite comprehend the aspects discussed in the book as well as older children that may have had contact with these ideas (e.g. WWII, Berlin Wall, Soviet Union) through history or social studies classes. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but it had me wishing that there was more to it, like a Soviet-ruled Persepolis. ( )
  vroussel | Mar 31, 2015 |
I did not enjoy “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain”, the central message of which was that creativity can be discouraged, but not destroyed. I did not like the convoluted language of the book, which left me feeling confused and unclear on the premise of the book. I felt that the language of this story was inconsistent and choppy. I also did not like the story’s plot, which told the story of the author, Peter Sis, growing up on the Communist side of the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia, and the gradual process by which he became aware of the indoctrination of which he was a victim. I did not think this plot was appropriate for young readers, and I felt uncomfortable reading about it myself. I also did not like the illustrations of this book. Being that the book was a combination of a graphic novel and a picture book, it contained many illustrations that I felt crowded the pages and were distracting to the text. Overall, this book is not one that I would want to share with my students, as I do not feel its content is appropriate for young children. ( )
  kkadal1 | Mar 20, 2015 |
This is the true story of Peter Sis who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia during the Communist regime. He tells what life was like for him and illustrates the book marvelously to show what it was like. This is a wonderfully done book about the Cold War period in Europe. ( )
  dorthys | Mar 15, 2015 |
Shows a child's view of the cold war. Students are able to ask grandparents/older people what it was really like for great discussions.
  elindseyziegler | Mar 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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
Dedication
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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