Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community

illus. by John Parra. 40p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481453134.
OrangeReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Verde's unique style and simple yet increasingly important messages of peace, mindfulness, and community make her stories a must-share! This title is no different. Turning the first page, readers see the big wall referenced in the title, but also the bustling city street and sidewalks, and a boy—pondering the surface and wondering how he can make this empty wall something special that represents his life and his community. The boy walks children through the seasons, and they see that the wall is unchanged and unadorned as the city lives and breathes around it. The boy decides to take matters into his own hands, and with the power of art and community, he breathes life back into the wall, so it pulses and dances just like the people and neighbors it now represents. The final page shows the transformation and the simple words, Hey, Wall! Both the author and illustrator notes are instrumental in sharing this picture book as a read-aloud with students and will spark the necessary conversation of change and community, and how art can support both.
VERDICT A must-purchase for elementary libraries that could easily support art curriculums covering topics of graffiti, street art, and using art to spark social change.

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