One night someone builds a high wall, and the narrator of the story wakes up the next morning to find that he, his mother and his sister are on one side of the Berlin Wall, while his father is on the other side. The book tells the story of life in East Germany, how people died trying to escape, and how the boy digs a tunnel through which he and his family are finally able to get to the West to find his father. They make it just in time.
Contrasts of light and dark within the images tell the deeper story of freedom versus repression – it’s one of those books where words become almost redundant in the narrative. Even to children with no knowledge of the Cold War, this book will convey a story – of a young boy’s determination to reunite his family, and of the role of walls in causing division.
Based on true stories, this book coincides with the twenty fifth anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, but it also conveys a deeper message about walls that still stand elsewhere in the world as barriers between people. As a story book, it will be understood and appreciated by its intended audience. However, it is also an excellent resource to extend the visual literacy of older pupils as they explore and reflect on the role and purpose of walls in our lives.