Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Wall

Somehow, I missed that Peter Sis’s The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain is a Caldecott Honor Book. Instead, I only knew it won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. The ALA-sponsored award acknowledges “the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year.”

As such, I was quite surprised to discover The Wall in the picture book section of my library. Despite being a Caldecott winner, the book reads and looks less like a child’s picture book and more like a young adult graphic novel.

Using illustrations—and very little text—Sis recounts his experiences growing up in Prague under Communism. Despite undergoing Soviet “brainwashing” as a child, Sis joins underground movements as both a musician and artist.

Sis’s Iron Curtain experiences are far from typical. He has opportunities to travel throughout Europe and to study in London. Whereas his experiences make him atypical in the Soviet system, his artistic endeavors also make him more of a target.

Sis’s stylistic artwork and the book’s format is consistent with other graphic novels I’ve read. As such, it would be a shame to simply shuffle the book away with other picture books when it can stand as a strong example of the graphic novel genre.

1 comment:

Wanna-Be Lit said...

That's one of the Caldecotts we haven't read yet. What do you think my girls would think?