Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Wall

written and illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole
2014 (Templar)
Source: Orange County Public Library

I dreamed of Dad breaking through the wall and rescuing us. But I knew my dreams were unlikely to come true.

A family is separated while the Berlin Wall is being built. The father is in West Germany while his wife and children are in East Germany. The son worries that his dad is lonely, but his mother tells him that life is much better for his dad than for them. The boy imagines many ways to cross over to West Germany. His family witnesses several escapes but also several fatal attempts. Finally, the boy starts digging a tunnel. When he finishes, the biggest concern is crossing a field to the tunnel's entrance. As the family approaches the tunnel, they are stopped by a soldier. Will they be able to cross over into West Germany and be reunited with their beloved father?

This is an impressive picture book by Tom Clohosy Cole. Using several true-life stories as inspiration, Cole has written a story that helps young readers understand the brutality of the Berlin Wall without being graphic. The artwork is amazing. His choice of colors help dictate the mood in each spread. The story is simple but very poignant. I would pair this with Peter Sis's The Wall if you are teaching about the Berlin Wall. It would also be good for teaching character traits like determination.


  1. Hi Jeff. Thanks for this recommendation. It does sound great. I'm a fan of Peter Sis's work in general but recommend The Wall to student-teachers all the time. A good one for older (not elementary) students..
    Apples with Many Seeds

    1. You have to have some background knowledge for The Wall. With this one, you can go in without much knowledge. Thanks for stopping by, Tammy!

  2. This looks great! I may be able to incorporate it into our curriculum this year. Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday this week!

    1. Thanks, Tina! It's good for elementary students who don't know about the Berlin Wall.


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