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on March 24, 2004
Over a quarter of a century has passed since the U.S. involvement in Vietnam came to an end, yet the effects of that conflict are still etched throughout the fabric of our modern day society. But another generation has been born in the time since the fighting ended. Many have never heard of Vietnam let alone the fighting that went on there. How does one introduce a child to a subject that is still as electrified as the Vietnam War? Perhaps by reading THE WALL with them.
THE WALL is simply a story about a young man who takes his son to the Vietnam War Memorial to find the name of his dad. The young boy's grandfather died in the conflict and at the end of the book the reader knows the boy's head is full of questions. The story doesn't answer these questions, but allows children to verbalize these questions themselves: Why are there flags all around here? Why did that teacher say the Wall belongs to all of us? Why does that soldier not have any legs? The story can also be used as in introduction for not only the Vietnam War, but to also talking about war in general. The illustrations and the story are molded together perfectly into one beautiful harmony. Sometimes kids will be anxious during a story, but when reading this story most kids will remain completely still, taking in the simple, yet profound story. This is a great book to read to children not just during Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, or Independence Day, but at any time during the year.
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on November 1, 2000
Eve Bunting masterfully captures a somber, quiet visit to "The Wall" from a young boy's perspective. With deceptively simple language, Bunting paints a cold barren day, as father and son go to visit "grandfather's wall." The boy's youthful curiosity is carefully balanced against his dad's sobering pilgrimage.
For many years, this has been my read-aloud of choice for primary grade classes in our school library just prior to Veteran's Day. The children always sit in thoughful stillness, often asking insightful questions about the wall, the war, the wheelchair-bound soldier without any legs in the story, or the grandma and grandpa aged couple tearfully hugging each other.
Not all stories that children hear need to be happy, silly or simply for entertainment. Sadness, loss of a loved one, and unfortunately war, are a part of reality. This exceptional short story is a slice of life that can be meaningfully shared with children, to explore the emotions surrounding this part of reality.
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on October 7, 2000
This is a very tasteful "Vietnam war" book for young (& older) people. There are very few children's books which are age-appropriate on the subject of Vietnam and wars. Eve Bunting works her magic as an author to convey a very touching story (I had to grab the Kleenex box!). Her book will help teach the upcoming generations about the sacrifices that all military veterans made by serving America and the impacts on their families. The story explains the significance of the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the different expressions of tributes left by family members.The illustrator's (Ronald Himler) pictures are soft but powerful in their visual impact. The illustrations compliment Eve Bunting emotional writing. This book should be in every public school and public library! As an elementary school teacher, I highly recommend this book!
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on December 16, 2002
"The Wall" is a patriotic book. It was easy to read; that made me understand how the Vietnam War turned out in the end.
The boy and his father try to find the grandfather's name on the Vietnam Wall memorial when they pass many other names. When the father reads the names on the wall, the boy imagines each name as a real person, standing next to him and talking to him.
If you are interested in the Vietnam War and how people sacrificed their lives fore us, then "The Wall" would be a good book for you to read.
I gave this four stars out of five because I found the book to be very moving. If you like books about wars, then you'll like "The Wall."
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on June 16, 2001
Eve Bunting has done an outstanding job of capturing the readers emotions regarding the Vietnam Memorial Wall. I could feel for the father and the others that toured the exhibit and found myself crying as I read it to a faculty. A teacher who was a former vet, was so touched, he read it and found himself reliving experiences. Beautiful - brings out the sorrows of war, which we haven't experienced as much of since that time. I recommend this book for anyone - vet or not. Eve Bunting has done an excellent job bringing reality and hearbreak to the book as well as a sense of respect for those who fought there.
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on January 26, 2002
I am a sixth grade social studies teacher. Yes, this book is below the average sixth grade reading level. However, I read this along with other books, orally, to my classes at the beginning of the school year. It gives the students a sneak preview as to what their studies are going to be all about. It also encourages the idea that history is not so bad after all. It should encourage them to read about history and may even introduce the genre to some students. The book also provides realism to the plight of the Vietnam War. It is a good book experience for all who read and/or listen to it.
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on November 18, 1997
The Vietnam Memorial as seen through the eyes of a child. No one I knew fought in Vietnam--until I was married. My husband was born while his father was recovering from wounds in a Red Cross Hospital in Vietnam. Until reading this book, it never occurred to me that it could have been my own father-in-law's name on the Wall (beside many of his friends) and that it could have been my children standing there confused, looking for the name of the Grandfather they never knew. What a powerfully moving experience. This book should be shared with both children and adults.
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on October 12, 2003
As a college student studying to be an elementary school teacher, I recommend that every teacher use this book in their classroom around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This book has a great message and the fact that it is written from the boy's perspective makes it easy for students to realate to the characters.
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on January 26, 2002
This book touched my heart. It is very moving and really captures the story in a way children can understand. One of the best children's books I've ever read, and the only one I've ever seen about the subject of the Wall or veterens. It is a lovely tribute.
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on May 29, 2001
This is the first children's literature book to make me cry. The text is well-written. Provides a valuable teaching resource with regards to the Vietnam War and the after effects of it.
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