Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Author & Illustrator: Peter Sis
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Publication Year: 2007
Location: Knox County Public Library- Lawson McGhee
Awards: Caldecott Honor, Sibert, ALA Best Books, ALA Notable, Parents' Choice Award Winner, Boston Globe - Horn Book Award, NYT Best Illustrated, CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Orbis Pictus, Booklist Editors' Choice, Horn Book Fanfare, Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, Publishers Weekly Best Books, School Library Journal Best Books
Summary: This autobiography parallels Sis's writing life with his early years in Czechoslovakia. As he continued to grow in his artist ability (his journal entries note that he won the Historical Museum Drawing Competition in 1962), life behind the Iron Curtain is very restricted. In the 1960s, he began to learn about Western culture and question what he was being taught. In 1968, censorship is lifted and Western popular culture influences (the Beatles, Harlem Globetrotters, etc) began to flow into Sis's life. Then the Iron Curtain falls again and finally in 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev brings down the wall and the Cold War is over. What an amazing book that tells the tale of the fall of the communist way of life!!
Classroom Ideas: autobiography, This book takes place during the 1950s-60s with the growth of communism in eastern Europe, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam War. The vocabulary is explained very well (communism, compulsory, prohibited) and there is a wonderful feeling of what life would have been like during this time period.
Extras: endpaper map of Europe with inset of Prague, photographs of Sis growing up on the jacket