Tag Archives: Berlin Wall

This week’s booktalks 5/15 – 5/18

18 May

Only one five day week until the end of the school year!!!

Here are the four books I booktalked this week:

MONDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: Mia Chen is on what her mother calls a Grand Adventure. She’s not sure what to make of this family trip to China, and didn’t want to leave her friends for the summer, but she’s excited about the prospect of exploring with her Aunt Lin, the only adult who truly understands her.

Then Aunt Lin disappears, right after her old nemesis, a man named Ying, comes to visit. Mia knows that years ago, when Aunt Lin and Ying were sent to the Fuzhou countryside to work as laborers, the two searched for an ancient treasure together–one that still hasn’t been found. She’s suspicious that their shared history might be linked to Aunt Lin’s disappearance.

When Mia discovers an old map filled with riddles in Aunt Lin’s room, she quickly pieces together her mission: find the treasure, find her aunt. Now, Mia, along with her big brother, Jake, must solve the clues to rescue the person she knows best in the world—and maybe unearth a treasure greater than her wildest dreams.

TUESDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: Jupiter and her family have spent their lives on the road, moving from town to town in a trusty old van, making do, and earning their living busking for tourists. But when their van breaks down, Jupiter’s mother rents an actual house in Portland for the summer so that Jupiter’s annoying cousin Edom, recently adopted from Ethiopia, can stay with them. Luckily, Edom doesn’t want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the process, Jupiter learns that community — and family — aren’t always what you expect them to be.

 

WEDNESDAY

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Author’s Website Summary: With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.


But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

THURSDAY

Author’s Website Summary: The_Unwanteds_book_coverEvery year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their graves.

On the day of the Purge, identical twins Alex and Aaron Stowe await their fate. While Aaron is hopeful of becoming a Wanted, Alex knows his chances are slim. He’s been caught drawing with a stick in the dirt-and in the stark gray land of Quill, being creative is a death sentence.

But when Alex and the other Unwanteds face the Eliminators, they discover an eccentric magician named Mr. Today and his hidden world that exists to save the condemned children. Artimé is a colorful place of talking statues, uncommon creatures, and artistic magic, where creativity is considered a gift… and a weapon.

Escapist literature #GNCelebration

22 Oct

I am old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 , but not so old that I remember it going up in 1961.

Simon Schwartz’s The Other Side of the Wall, translated from its original German by Laura Watkinson, tells the story of his parents’ departure from East Germany in 1984.

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Telling the story in black and white illustrations reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, 

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Schwartz tells us about his parents’ Communist upbringing in the German Democratic Republic and the ideas and events that eventually brought them to the decision to leave. There is some awkwardness as he shuffles back and forth in time, but the reader comes to understand the difficulties his parents suffered through as they awaited permission to emigrate to West Germany.

This book would pair nicely with The Wall  by Peter Sís, about Sís’ youth in Cold War–era Prague,

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or  Going Over,  Beth Kephart’s YA novel about young love and an escape across the Berlin Wall from East to West.

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 All of these books give readers interesting insights into the Cold War as experienced by those on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

You can join the  celebration and read about more great graphics novels HERE.

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Move over Eleanor and Park

15 May

My sister likes to walk into bookstores and ask the clerk in the children’s/YA section for the titles of the best books he or she has read lately. A title recommended to her recently was Going Over by Beth Kephart.

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It is a story told in two voices. Ada lives in squatters’ slum in West Berlin. Her story is narrated in the first person. Stefan lives in Communist East Berlin. His story is told in the second person. An unusual choice, and yet, it works.  really though, the whole books works because Beth Kephart is such fantastic writer.

“There is a line between us, a wall. It is wide as a river; it has teeth. It is barbed and trenched and lit and piped and mesed and bricked–155 kilometers of wrong. There are dogs, there are watchtowers, there are men, there are guns, there are blares, but this is West Berlin, the Kreuzberg Kiez, Post Office Sudost 3, and we’re free.”

The book is set in 1980’s Berlin, before the wall came down in 1989. Ada Is a graffiti artist who sends messages of hope and escape to Stefan, with whom she is in love. I remember when the wall cam down, but had forgotten about the graffiti.

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Stefan dreams of going over to West Berlin. Their grandmothers are best friends and so they meet as children. Eventually, they fall in love and the  dream of Stefan’s escape to the West begins.

I highly recommend this book. This is one you really should read.

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