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Sunday, 18 May 2014

We couldn't help but post this entire review of Bringing Down the Wall by Kathy Creamer of Kids Creative Tales:

A beautifully written, gentle and sensitive story about how barriers of resentment and anger can grow between family members, due to isolation and a lack of understanding or communication. Bringing Down The Wall reveals how the strength and innocence of a child’s love can have the power to break through even the most stubborn barriers of misunderstanding.

David P Reiter tells the moving story of a little boy named Joshua, who goes to visit his grandfather, even though his mother has forbidden him ever to do so.

Joshua’s grandfather celebrates his grandson’s visit with the sharing of ice cream and conversation about the past. They explore the reasons why people all have different ways of reacting to difficult life changes, such as illness and death, and the range of emotions that people go through in the process of grieving and trying to move on with their lives.

The reader is able to empathize with Joshua and his grandfather, as they both begin to gain an understanding and acceptance of each other’s feelings, and Joshua is finally able to appreciate the reasons for his mother’s anger and resentment against his grandfather and his step-grandmother, Riva.

Joshua begins to realize that although he’s just a little boy, he is actively ‘bringing down the wall’ between his mother and grandfather, with the enormous power of love he has for his family.

Sona Babajanyan evokes the feeling of warmth and security with her beautiful tonal and textured illustrations of the timeworn and comfortable interior of the house of Joshua’s grandparents. The old-fashioned telephone and ornaments, photographs of family, faded wallpaper, cluttered shelves and big comfy chairs all convey the feeling of the well loved, well worn, safe and familiar.

Sona’s characters are softly painted with gentleness, but they avoid any of the mawkish sentimentality that could so easily have crept into the sequential illustration of this kind of theme. Joshua is presented as a fresh faced, wide-eyed and thoughtful child, whilst his grandfather and step-grandmother are drawn as quietly care worn.

This is a picture book story that would be best shared with a parent, grandparent or teacher, and I can imagine it would bring about a great deal of interesting classroom discussion.

Children need more picture stories like this one; stories that address family relationships, and stories that also help young people to understand their own unexpressed personal emotions in our modern, high tech, fast-paced world. [emphasis: Kathy's]

Friday, 16 May 2014

Terracotta Me: China, 2014

Break out the popcorn and slushies for David Reiter's film on China, with highlights of the Australia-China Publishers' Forum and touring stops in Beijing, Datong & Xi'an!