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The Resource The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain, Peter Sís

The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain, Peter Sís

Label
The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain
Title
The wall
Title remainder
growing up behind the Iron Curtain
Statement of responsibility
Peter Sís
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
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
Tone
Illustration
Award
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2008
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2007
  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction, 2008.
  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books: 2007
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, 2008.
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2008
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2008
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Gr 4 Up— Personal, political, passionate—these are among the qualities that readers have come to appreciate about Sís's autobiographical books such as The Three Golden Keys (Doubleday, 1994) and Tibet through the Red Box (Farrar, 1998). This layered foray into family and Czech history begins with succinct sentences at the bottom of each page. Captions accompanying the art—arranged in panels of varying size—fill in more details. The pacing and design of the compositions create their own rhythm, contributing much to the resulting polyphony. Sís immediately engages even his youngest audience with a naked, cherubic self-portrait, colored pencil in hand. The ensuing scenes of home and community life in Prague, rendered predominantly in black and white, are punctuated with Communist red and tiny fragments of color as the young artist experiments in the face of rigid conformity. The third-person narration achieves an understatement that helps to mitigate the more disturbing descriptions found in his double-spread journal entries. Bordered by Sís's youthful art, photographs, and propaganda posters, these selections depict his reality behind the Iron Curtain from 1954 to 1977. The recurring themes of music and art as important vehicles of self-expression, and the relationship between a government's inclination to embrace or suppress that creativity and the state's vitality, will resonate with teens. This celebration of the arts climaxes in a full-color spread à la Peter Max. Complex, multifaceted, rich in detail, this book shares the artist's specific heritage while connecting to universal longings. His concluding visions of freedom are both poignant and exhilarating.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library --Wendy Lukehart (Reviewed August 1, 2007) (School Library Journal, vol 53, issue 8, p139)
  • /* Starred Review */ 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. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed July 9, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 27, p55)
  • /* Starred Review */ S"s has loved to draw for as long as he can remember, and this work tells the parallel stories of his early years drawing and the rise and fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. At home, he could draw what he wanted, but at school he drew what he was told, his only freedom being to dream and hope. A concise introduction fleshes out the history of the time, leaving the rest of the volume for a potent mix of narration, fanciful illustrations, maps and double-page spreads for journal entries. Made palpable is the frustration of an artist in a constrictive society, especially when "Bits and pieces of news from the West begin to slip through the Iron Curtain"—news of the Beatles, Elvis, Allen Ginsberg and the Harlem Globetrotters, depicted in full color to contrast with the grey darkness of the Eastern Bloc. As in all of S"s's works, much is going on here, and readers will want to read it through, and then pore over the illustrations. A masterpiece for readers young and old. (afterword) (Nonfiction. 8+) (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007)
Awards note
Robert Sibert Medal; Caldecott Honor Book.
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
190173
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1949-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Sís, Peter
Dewey number
943.704
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
no index present
Intended audience
3-4
Intended audience source
Baker & Taylor
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 12
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Sis, Peter
  • SiÌs, Peter
  • Illustrators
  • Czech Americans
  • Illustrators
  • Authors, American
  • Czech Americans
  • Illustrators
  • Authors, American
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia
Target audience
juvenile
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
growing up behind the Iron Curtain
Label
The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain, Peter Sís
Link
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"Frances Foster books."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000040604998
Dimensions
32 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 v. (unpaged)
Governing access note
Electronic resource (access conditions)
Isbn
9780374347017
Isbn Type
(hc.)
Lccn
2006049149
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
col. ill., maps
System control number
(OCoLC)70839815
System details
Robert F. Sibert Medal, 2008
Label
The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain, Peter Sís
Link
Publication
Note
"Frances Foster books."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000040604998
Dimensions
32 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 v. (unpaged)
Governing access note
Electronic resource (access conditions)
Isbn
9780374347017
Isbn Type
(hc.)
Lccn
2006049149
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
col. ill., maps
System control number
(OCoLC)70839815
System details
Robert F. Sibert Medal, 2008

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