Monday, May 26, 2014

A Family Struggles with Life Behind the Berlin Wall

Stretching from 1948 to 1989, Life Behind the Wall, tells the story of three generations of one family caught up in the turmoil in Berlin after World War II. The book consists of three self contained stories set in different time periods.

In the first story, Candy Bomber, Erich Becker, a thirteen-year-old boy is trying to help his family, particularly his grandmother, survive. Food is scarce and Erich is willing to dare sneaking into the American compound to steal food.

The second story, Beetle Bomber, features Erich's younger sister. Sabine walks using crutches because of contracting polio. She wants a place of her own and finds a disused bunker. As the Berlin Wall goes up the thoughts of many in East Berlin turn to escape.

In the third story, Smuggler's Treasure, Sabine's thirteen-year-old daughter smuggles Bibles into East Berlin. In this story, the wall comes down, and we experience all the pent up emotion of the Berliners.

I highly recommend this book for middle grade students. The stories focus on heroic adventures appropriate for young teens. The main character in each is a boy or girl thirteen-years-old. This makes it easy for young readers to identify with the main character and vicariously live the adventure.

The stories are historically accurate and are an excellent way to introduce young readers to an important era in world history. Although the stories have a religious undertone, it is not preachy, but more an expression of the characters' way of life.

I reviewed this book for BookLook Bloggers.