Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Wall


Sis, Peter. 2007. The Wall: Growing Up Behind The Iron Curtain. FSG.

Another nonfiction picture book for older readers. This time it's about the cold war, communism, and art. It's the autobiography of Peter Sis, an author and illustrator. It's both simple and complex.
"As long as he could remember, he had loved to draw. At first he drew shapes. Then he drew people. After drawing whatever he wanted to at home, he drew what he was told to at school. He drew tanks. He drew wars."
The art has captions providing a time line, facts which are crucial in placing everything into context. Also included in The Wall are selections from his journals. These entries are both informative of his culture and his personal life. One being,
"My father's cousin Lamin is in prison as an enemy of the state. My grandmother talks to my parents about it in German so my sister and I won't understand. But we understand some of it. He was on a national volleyball team that was going to a tournament in the West, and the players were all planning to stay there. The secret police found out. Lamin is twenty years old and will be in prison for the rest of his life. (1956)"
Another being,
"I built a scooter that collapsed when my sister, Hana, was riding it downhill. She hates me!" (1963).
The picture book covers several decades. I found it interesting in a way to see how rock music came to symbolize "the West" and helped many young people see the light if you will. Sis' interest in rock music--his love for the Beatles and Beach Boys, among others of course, was fun to read about.

Overall, I really liked this one. I can see why it got such great reviews a few years back. If you haven't picked this one up yet, it's not too late. Try it, see if you like it.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Paige Y. 6:52 PM  

I'd like to gather enough copies to use with a class. I've found over the past few years that students really have no concept of communism and the Cold War. So different from when I grew up . . .

(and that sounds like I'm 100 years old -- really, I'm just 43)

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP