The Wall

November 10, 2008

As we think about Veteran’s Day, picture books can help children relate to historical events.  Eve Bunting creates an honored respect for those who have served and lost their lives through her book. The Wall.  A young father and his son go to visit the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.  They are in search of someone, someone special – the young father’s father. The narrative is shared through the eyes of the young boy.  He wants to meet his grandfather.  Eve Bunting’s words command moments of silence and reflection.  “My dad stands very still with his head bent.”

When I read this book, a lump comes to my throat and tears fill my eyes.  I can’t help it.  Emotion wells up.  Whether I agree with why our country is at war, my heart bleeds for those who have given their lives for my freedom, for the freedom of my children.  Eve Bunting kneads her words, creating strong emotion.  Children will relate and gain a better understanding of why we honor our veterans.  I have a signed copy of The Wall by both the author and the illustrator.  Listen to what they say.

Eve Bunting:  “The wall is for all of us!”

Ronald Himler:  “Live in such a way that we will never need another wall like this one.”

See an interview with the author:  Eve Bunting. Listen to the story being read by a veteran. Images of the actual Vietnam War Memorial Wall are added during the reading of this story. Very moving.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Wall:

  • Theme – respect and honor
  • Strong emotion
  • Show don’t Tell – “Dad’s rubbing the name, rubbing and rubbing as if he wants to wipe it away.
  • Setting matches the mood – “bare trees behind us and the dark, flying clouds”
  • Symbolism – “The wall is black and shiny as a mirror.  In it, I can see Dad and me.
  • Simile – “The letters march side by side like rows of soldiers.”