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The Wall

Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Peter Sís

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 09, 2007 – Born out of a question posed to Sís (Play, Mozart, Play!) by his children (“Are you a settler, Dad?”), the author pairs his remarkable artistry with journal entries, historical context and period photography to create a powerful account of his childhood in Cold War–era Prague. Dense, finely crosshatched black-and-white drawings of parades and red-flagged houses bear stark captions: “Public displays of loyalty—compulsory. Children are encouraged to report on their families and fellow students. Parents learn to keep their opinions to themselves.” Text along the bottom margin reveals young Sís’s own experience: “He didn’t question what he was being told. Then he found out there were things he wasn’t told.” The secret police, with tidy suits and pig faces, intrude into every drawing, watching and listening. As Sís grows to manhood, Eastern Europe discovers the Beatles, and the “Prague Spring of 1968” promises liberation and freedom. Instead, Soviet tanks roll in, returning the city to its previous restrictive climate. Sís rebels when possible, and in the book’s final spreads, depicts himself in a bicycle, born aloft by wings made from his artwork, flying toward America and freedom, as the Berlin Wall crumbles below. Although some of Sís’s other books have their source in his family’s history, this one gives the adage “write what you know” biting significance. Younger readers have not yet had a graphic memoir with the power of Maus or Persepolis to call their own, but they do now. Ages 8-up.

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The Wall
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biography
  • Published: Jul 15, 2014
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 55 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3 or later and iOS 4.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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