Cover image for Wall
Cole, Tom Clohosy, author, illustrator.
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Massachusetts : Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Follows a small boy and his family as they try to reunite with his father after the Berlin Wall is built.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

AD 480 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



The story of one boy's struggle to reunite his family, on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A young boy and his mother and sister were separated from their father when the Berlin Wall was built between East and West Germany. This story shows the family's struggle as they try to cross the wall so they can be together again. This spectacular book is based on true stories about the Berlin Wall. Powerful illustrations teamed with an emotive storyline make this an impressive tale of triumph over adversity.

Author Notes

Tom Clohosy Cole studied at Kingston University and is the author-illustrator of Space Race . He lives and works in London.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

An imposing wall, topped with barbed wire and guarded by soldiers, separates a man from his family. His son dreams of escaping to the other side, where, his mother says, life is better, but the bricks are stacked against them. Some on the boy's side attempt to flee; some succeed, some fail. Undeterred, the boy digs a tunnel through which the family escapes, and with the merciful help of an enemy soldier, the family is reunited. Cole's dramatic digital illustrations fill the spreads with saturated color, dynamic composition, and atmospheric lighting, conveying the narrative's powerful intensity. Though no direct mention is made of the Berlin Wall, or the complicated politics surrounding it, this emotional story, published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the wall's dismantling, invites further investigation and reflection, and it may be best appreciated by older children who will want to discuss the story's challenging, powerful imagery. For another story about young people living in military zones, pair this with Michael Forman's A Child's Garden (2009).--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The son of a family separated by the Berlin Wall narrates Cole's (Space Race) story. His father is in the West, while the boy, his mother, and his younger sister are trapped in the East: "I worried he was lonely, but Mom said life was better over there." The wall dominates the lives of the East German inhabitants. Escape attempts are common; ordinary citizens cheer them on. Cole's silk screen-like digital artwork conveys this reality with unusual thoughtfulness and complexity. The images focus on the cheerless Iron Curtain landscape, gloomy expanses punctuated by intrusive beams of light, and each contains a moment of contrast or surprise. The boy succeeds in digging a tunnel to the West, bringing his mother and sister to safety, their lives spared at one point by a kindly guard ("He said nothing should come between a father and his family"). Doll-like figures temper the story's more difficult episodes, yet Cole never hides the terror and injustice of life under totalitarian government. A brief note discusses the building of the Berlin Wall, but not Cold War politics; additional context-setting will help. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this debut picture book, Cole explores the serious theme of family separation. This title follows a young boy's struggle to reunite his family when his father is stuck on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Based on true stories, it depicts the family struggles and situation through the eyes of a child. Although trapped with his mother and sister in the East, he is heroic in his determination to find a way to reunite his family. Cole successfully uses his broad strokes of bold color to define the differences between the east and west sides of the wall. Dark tones are representative of the dismal repression of the East, while brighter colors define the freedom of the West-the place where the family will join together once more. Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the tearing down of the wall, this story appeals to children's natural instinct for fairness and justice. It could be paired with Jacqueline Woodson's The Other Side (Putnam, 2001) to compare and contrast it with the struggle for civil rights here in the United States. For a wider world view, another choice might be Sami and the Time of Troubles (Clarion, 1992) by Florence Heide, about a child growing up in war-torn Lebanon. However used, this powerful story of family, torn apart and reunited, allows children access to an important historical event by combining strikingly bold illustrations with a carefully worded text that engages and informs. A recommended addition to any library but especially those with elementary grade patrons.-Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.