Author/Illustrator: Peter Sis
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Year: 2007
Brief Summary: Part picture book, part graphic-novel, with journal entries, maps, and comic-strip style illustrations, this book shows readers what life was like growing up during the Cold War under communist rule.
Awards, Honors and Prizes:
- Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, 2008 Winner Nonfiction United States
- Cuffies: Children’s Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 2007 Winner Best Nonfiction Treatment of a Subject United States
- Cybil Award, 2007 Finalist Non-fiction (Middle Grade and Young Adult) United States
- New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year, 2007 Winner United States
- Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, 2008 Recommended Book United States
- Randolph Caldecott Medal, 2008 Honor Book United States
- Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, 2008 Winner United States
- Amazon Editors’ Picks: Top 10 Books, 2007
- Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2008 ; Bank Street College of Education ; Outstanding Merit
- Booklist Book Review Stars , Sep. 1, 2007 ; American Library Association
- Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2007 ; American Library Association
- Booklist Editors’ Choice: Top of the List, 2007 ; American Library Association ; Winner
- Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth, 2007 ; Booklist
- Booklist Top 10 Biographies for Youth, 2008 ; Booklist
- Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 2007 ; The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
- Capitol Choices, 2008 ; The Capitol Choices Committee
- Choices, 2008 ; Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Horn Book Fanfare, 2007 ; Horn Book
- Kirkus Best Children’s Books, 2007 ; Kirkus
- Kirkus Book Review Stars, July 15, 2007
- Middle and Junior High Schoool Library Catalog, Ninth Edition Supplement 2008, 2008 ; H.W. Wilson Company
- Notable Books for a Global Society, 2008 ; Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group IRA
- Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts, 2008 ; NCTE Children’s Literature Assembly
- Notable Children’s Books, 2008 ; ALSC American Library Association
- Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2008 ; National Council for Social Studies
- Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Books, 2007 ; Cahners
- Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 9, 2007 ; Cahners
- School Library Journal Best Books, 2007 ; Cahners
- School Library Journal Book Review Stars, August 2007 ; Cahners
- Senior High Core Collection Supplement to the Seventeenth Edition 2008, 2008 ; The H. W. Wilson Co.
- YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2008 ; American Library Association
- YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, 2008 ; American Library Association ; Top Ten
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:
- Social studies: Cold War, Iron Curtain (physical & symbolical), Communist/socialist, Stalin, Prague Spring of 1968, etc.
- What do you think life would be like in that era? How would your life be different depending on which side of the “wall” you lived on?
- What does freedom mean? What does freedom mean to the narrator? Write an essay about what it means to be free for you.
Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.
- Text-to-self connections
- Text-to-world connections
- Informational texts — inferences, drawing conclusions, making connections
- Social studies: see above
Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.
Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library