The Wall

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Also known as Evelyn Bolton and A.E. Bunting.

Anne Evelyn Bunting, better known as Eve Bunting, is an author with more than 250 books. Her books are diverse in age groups, from picture books to chapter books, and topic, ranging from Thanksgiving to riots in Los Angeles. Eve Bunting has won several awards for her works.

Bunting went to school in Ireland and grew up with storytelling. In Ireland, “The

[Download] ➵ The Wall Author Eve Bunting –
  • Paperback
  • 32 pages
  • The Wall
  • Eve Bunting
  • English
  • 03 April 2019
  • 9780395629772

10 thoughts on “The Wall

  1. says:

    I never knew my Uncle Clip, my father's youngest brother, who died eight years before I was born. But although it would probably be an overstatement to say I grew up in his shadow, there is no denying that he was a presence in my childhood home. His picture - a black and white photograph of a handsome young man, laughing, with the sun in his face - hung, framed, on my father's study wall. Beneath it, also in a frame, was an oblong piece of paper, with a pencil rubbing of his name. Long before I understood the significance of these two images, or their relationship to one another, long before I heard Uncle Clip's story, and my father's, I instinctively recognized this was a sacred space. We all of us, consciously or not, know what a shrine looks like.

    I used to find it terrifying that Uncle Clip looked so much like my father, when he was young, almost as if the image on the wall were of my father, almost as if they might still, despite the passage of time, switch places, my father disappearing into that photograph. My older sisters, thinking perhaps, to frighten me briefly, and probably never dreaming that I would believe them for so long, once told me that the old tarp in our attic was actually the body bag in which Uncle Clip had been shipped home, from far-off Southeast Asia. As bizarre, grotesque (and patently absurd) as such an idea might seem now, it did not come as a surprise to me then, and I believed it for years. Just as Uncle Clip's photograph was with us, in the house, so too, I often felt, was his spirit - why not his body bag? It seemed frightening and strange, but then, so too did the war.

    I can't remember when I first heard the story - perhaps all at once, perhaps in bits, as I questioned my parents - of my father's idealistic young brother: of his belief in the justness of the American cause in Vietnam, his belief that he would be fighting for democracy, and to protect the threatened South Vietnamese; of his determination to serve something greater than himself, and his desire to do his duty to the country he loved; of his enlistment in the army, despite the disapproval of his family, who all believed the war to be wrong; of his deployment to Vietnam, and the letter he wrote home, telling his mother (my grandmother) that the American people had been deceived, and that nothing was as he had expected it to be; and finally, of his death, on Good Friday, 1968. I can't remember when I learned that it was my father, and my Great Uncle Bob, who identified his returning body, because my grandparents were so heart-broken that they couldn't bear to do it; or when I discovered that there was such a thing as the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial - the Wall - from which the rubbing of Uncle Clip's name (my grandfather's name, too) was obtained, and to which my grandmother could never bring herself to go.

    Suffice it to say that, long before I ever knew it existed, the Wall was a part of my life, and of the life of my family. It has a presence amongst us, and it casts a shadow. It belongs to us, like it belongs to so many other Americans, in a way that few public monuments do. Naturally, walking past the Veteran's Day display, in the children's room of my local public library this past weekend, I was arrested by the sight of this book, sitting on the shelf - arrested by that cover image, of father and son at the Wall. Almost against my will, not sure I really wanted to read it at all, I checked it out, and this morning, reluctantly, I put it in my bag, to be read on my commute. What would Eve Bunting have to say, I wondered, about the Wall? Would she understand its unique power and significance? Would she take an ideological position on the Vietnam War? Would I hate her book? Love it? Be indifferent?

    I loved it, and am so glad I gave it a chance! The Wall is a beautiful story, told in a gentle and contemplative way, of a father and his young son visiting the memorial, to find the name of the father's father (and the son's grandfather), who died in Vietnam. Together, they search for his name, encountering others who have also come to visit the Wall: a grieving older couple, a veteran amputee in a wheelchair, a group of schoolgirls with flags, and (most poignant of all) a grandfather with his grandson. This last, in particular, had me tearing up, and was a deeply moving reminder of the loss experienced by the young boy, who would never know his own grandfather.

    Like the Wall itself, Bunting concentrates on the grief attendant on losing a loved one in war, rather than on the politics of the war itself. This allows the reader to come to their own conclusions - although the young boy's declaration, at the end of the book, that as proud as he is of his grandfather's service to country, he would rather have had the chance to get to know him - can be read as a commentary of sorts, I suppose. The illustrations, done in somber watercolor by Ronald Himler - who has also collaborated with Bunting on titles such as Fly Away Home and A Day's Work - perfectly capture the emotional intensity of each scene, whether it be the one in which the young boy's father prays, beside the wall, or that in which the elderly couple embrace one another.

    Given the way in which this book perfectly captures one of the most important aspects of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial - that it manages to honor the fallen, without glorifying the war - I was more than a little incensed to read that one of my fellow reviewers considers it "patriotic pornography." I guess Bunting wasn't as explicitly condemnatory as this person could have wished. In addition to being a gross misreading of the story, and one of the most appallingly heartless things I have read of late, it seems to me that this fellow reviewer's comments point to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Wall is, to so many of us.

    Just as I can't remember when and where I first learned the details of Uncle Clip's story, I can't remember when I learned my father's: that he was involved, as a young seminarian and minister, in the Civil Rights and anti-War movements. That he had been in the midst of his first pastorate, at a church in Kansas, when Uncle Clip died, and had been speaking out, from the pulpit, against the Vietnam War. That he had been labeled a "communist" by some (nowadays I expect it would be "terrorist"), although the career Army men in his congregation thanked him, privately, for speaking the truth that they could not. Most of all, although I cannot remember when or how I learned it, that, whatever my father's view of the war, he loved his brother with all his heart, and knew that his actions, in volunteering, came from a noble and honorable impulse, and a selfless desire to serve. That it wasn't necessary to agree with a man's decisions, or his views, to see the goodness and nobility in him, and to honor that.

    I don't think, really, I could have put all that into words, as a child, or even a young(er) adult. But it was with a deep sense of recognition that I first read, a few years back, On the Slain Collegians, one of Herman Melville's Civil War poems, in which he wrote:

    "Woe for the homes of the North,
    And woe for the seats of the South:
    All who felt life's spring in prime,
    And were swept by the wind of their place and time--
    All lavish hearts, on whichever side,
    Of birth urbane or courage high,
    Armed them for the stirring wars--
    Armed them--some to die."

    And then, later:

    "Warred one for Right, and one for Wrong?
    So be it; but they both were young--
    Each grape to his cluster clung,
    All their elegies are sung."

    That's how I think of my Uncle Clip: as an idealistic young man who was "swept by the wind of his place and time," a young man - one amongst many - who paid a terrible price for the misguided ambitions of the powerful. I don't need to agree with the war (and I don't) to believe he was a good man, and to mourn his death. And The Wall - whether we're speaking of this book, or of The Wall itself - doesn't require me to. It doesn't require anything of me, of us, politically. What it does do is provide a space, a unique and powerful space, in which we all, regardless of our views, can mourn our loved ones, and honor the dead. Oh Maya Lin! You did a good, good thing, and a profoundly important service to your country, when you designed that wall!

    Today, as I write this review, it is Veteran's Day. My father, who isn't in the best of health, has been speaking recently of seeing the Wall, one last time, before he dies. I think that I will look into going down to D.C., this spring. We'll go to the Wall, my father and I, like the two in this book, and we'll search for the name of that laughing young man, amongst the many thousands of his comrades. My father will pray for the dead, and that his brother's soul be at peace. And I? I will sing my uncle's elegy. With all my heart, will I sing it.

  2. says:

    No one is better at the picture book then Eve Bunting. Books like The Wall, Fly Away Home, December, and Smokey Night stay with you forever. They change the way you think, live, love, and act. EVE BUNTING is the Bomb!

  3. says:

    I can still remember having a teacher read this book to me when I was young. A wonderful book to read to students to discuss the loss that comes with war.

  4. says:

    I was going through my picture books this morning trying to get them a little organized, and I came across The Wall, which I had completely forgotten that I owned. I wish I remembered it so for Memorial Day, but I didn't so I thought I would write about it today.

    On a cool, breezy day, a young boy and his father visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. The boys notices that the wall long long, shiny and shaped like a V. The names on the wall are in straight lines, the "letters march side by side, like rows of soldier."

    But this isn't just a sightseeing visit. The boy and his father are looking for the boy's grandfather. As they search for his name, the boy sees different people approach the way - a wounded veteran, an elderly couple, a group of school girls - and the different mementos left by friends and family members who are still mourning the loss of the sons, brother, fathers, grandfathers Meanwhile, the boys father searches for the name of the father he lost when he was the age his son is now.

    Finally, there it is - George Munoz. Son and father make a rubbing of his names, then quietly stand in front of it together, no doubt thinking about what a loss they have suffered.

    Because, besides honoring the veterans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, the wall also reminds us of what a profound loss to family and friends even a single life can be. And I think Eve Bunting has really captured that so well in this book, as well as what a truly emotional experience visiting the Wall can be, regardless of your feelings about the Vietnam War.

    Ronald Himler's quiet impressionistic styled watercolor illustrations and his palette of background grays and semi-colorful foreground figures of visitors and mementos really reflect the somber mood of visiting such a meaningful visit.

    I created this blog because I was interested in the impact war has on children effected by it and I think the little boy's last words really epitomize that impact:

    "But I'd rather my grandpa here, taking me to the river, telling me to button my jacket because it's cold.
    I'd rather have him here."

    This book is recommended for readers age 5+
    This book was purchased for my personal library

    This review was originally posted on The Children's War

  5. says:

    In Washington, DC, there is a wall, a testimony to the large number of people who died, or who were never found in their United States military served in Vietnam. Those men and women, and those missing in action have their name on a panel of the wall, listed in the year they died or were missing.

    This is a story of a father who took his child to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. When they find his name, they take a piece of paper and rub the name onto the paper. This is also a journey of people they see at the wall who are crying, or like them, looking for the name of the person who died in that country in a war that so many thought was senseless.

    No matter what the personal thoughts or feelings about this war, the wall reminds us that these people deserve to be honored. The wall is a healing place where many leave trinkets at the bottom of the panel listing the name of the loved one.

    Thus, the wall was needed. It helped to heal a nation in grief. Stark in its presentation, the shiny black panels are different that a statue. The names give honor to those who did not make it home alive.

    The teacher who brought her class that day told the class members that this was a wall for "all of us."

  6. says:

    A father takes his son to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. to find the name of the father he lost. As the father looks for the name of his own father, the son observes the people he sees who are visiting the memorial. He meets a soldier decorated with medals in a wheelchair, he sees young school children asking questions of their teacher, and people embracing each other, crying for lost loved-ones.

    With simple yet descriptive prose, Eve Bunting captures the emotions of what one might experience at a visit to the Vietnam Memorial. Ronald Himler's stark yet dreamy watercolors add to that emotion.

    I knew this one was going to be emotional, but I didn't foresee that the tears would start to fall almost immediately. I don't think I'll be able to use this one in the classroom seeing as how I won't be able to get through it without crying.

  7. says:

    Lovely illustrations enhance the quiet, contemplative but oh-so-very-sad text. This book explores what it might feel like to be a small boy whose grandfather is only a name etched in very precise ("better than I can do") printing on a long black wall. Gorgeous imagery in the text, especially where the boy notes that he and his dad are reflected in the black mirror-like surface of the wall. It made me cry, for that little boy and for all the rest of us.

  8. says:

    This book tells you about how people feel about their families when they died in war.

  9. says:

    Read in honor of Veterens Day.

  10. says:

    The Wall by Eve Bunting is a story about a little boy and his father visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The boy and his father search for the boy’s grandpa’s name on the wall. Different people pass by while the boy and his father look for the grandpa’s name. Eventually, the father finds his dad’s name and places a picture of the boy by the wall. I liked this story because it teaches about the soldiers who fought and lost their lives fighting in the Vietnam War. It shows children to pay respect to these brave soldiers while also teaching of the terrible losses the war brought. The story also manages to keep the audience’s attention by inserting different small characters into the story.

    The setting takes place in present day (at the time the book was created) at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is important because the story is teaching about the lost soldiers of the Vietnam War. By setting the story at the memorial, the author depicts how many people lost their lives in the war. The author also gives an inside look of what it is like for the family and friends of the lost soldiers. It reveals the sadness and loss that was caused by the Vietnam War.

    Another literary element that was prominent in the story was the tone. The author created a gloomy and remorseful tone in order to depict the loss of the Vietnam War. The setting of the story immediately sets this story off with a gloomy tone because the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a place that reminds us of the people who lost their lives in the war. The story conveys this tone through the sadness of the characters. For example, when the father finds his father’s name, he rubs and rubs the wall, as if he wished he could have his father back (opening 7). The last page creates the remorseful tone because its shows that the child is missing out on being able to have fun memories with his grandpa.

    The colors of the illustrations are an important visual element. They help establish the gloomy and remorseful tone because the colors are very dull and dark. The illustrations of the wall are especially dull and dark and the shadows on it create an even darker tone. However, the people visiting the memorial are in bright colors. For example, the father is in yellow, the boy wear a read coat, and the schoolgirls are all in bright blue uniforms. I think this colors are bright because it brings a happier, lighter feeling to the story. It shows that the soldiers will be remembered and thanked for their service.

    The body language in the illustrations are also a vital visual element. The body language of the characters show their feelings about the memorial and the lost soldiers. For example, in opening 3, the boy and his father are both handing their hands behind their fact. This is a common expression of showing respect. The father is looking towards the wall, and thus, is showing respect to the soldiers who lost their lives in the war. However, the boy is facing the veteran and showing respect to him.

    This story is historical realism because it is organized around the historical Vietnam Veterans Memorial and discusses the topic of the lost soldiers from the Vietnam War. It is placed during the time after the war because the people are remembering the veterans. The story is imaginary, but very realistic and authentic because many people do visit and remember the soldiers lost at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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