HEY, WALL by Susan Verde

HEY, WALL

A Story of Art and Community
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Each day, a school-age child passes the neglected outer wall of what appears to be an abandoned movie theater in a diverse New York City neighborhood.

The streets bustle with kids, families, and traffic. Inside the child’s home the family hosts potlucks, and, on the roof, there is dancing and singing. These lively communal gatherings are in direct contrast to the blank, mute wall that everyone ignores—until the brown-skinned child takes charge. Together with neighbors and friends, armed with paint and sketches, they give life to their memories and imaginations. In no time at all, the wall is the neighborhood. Verde’s simple, expository, second-person narrative fluctuates between youthful exuberance and adult commentary as readers follow the tired wall through the seasons. “Soon we have filled you with colors, / creations, energy. / You are stone but you don’t have to be hard.” Parra’s familiar, flat matte illustrations chronicle the wall’s evolution until it reflects the neighborhood’s vibrancy back to the people who enliven its revitalized surface. Mural projects have often traditionally served as unifying forces within blighted, fragmented communities, but not in this case. The residents interact, are friendly, and are organically connected before the mural is planned. Since the unnamed child is the catalyst of this activity, it’s a pity the voice is not more consistently childlike.

A classroom-friendly call for social activism somewhat marred by a too-adult voice. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4814-5313-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2018




MORE BY SUSAN VERDE

ChildrenI AM HUMAN by Susan Verde
by Susan Verde
ChildrenROCK ’N’ ROLL SOUL by Susan Verde
by Susan Verde

MORE BY JOHN PARRA

ChildrenFRIDA KAHLO AND HER ANIMALITOS by Monica Brown
by Monica Brown
ChildrenROUND IS A TORTILLA by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenHOME SWEET NEIGHBORHOOD by Michelle Mulder
by Michelle Mulder
ChildrenLUIS PAINTS THE WORLD by Terry Farish
by Terry Farish
ChildrenSWATCH by Julia Denos
by Julia Denos
ChildrenMAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL by F. Isabel Campoy
by F. Isabel Campoy