The Other Side Of The Wall

Schwartz, S. (2015). The other side of the wall. Minneapolis, MN: Graphic Universe

The Schwartzes live in East Berlin. They whole life is there: their childhood, their parents, their collegiate experience, and even their son Simon was born there.  However, they begin to realize that living in East Berlin is not the best thing for them or their son.  This graphic novel is told in Simon's perspective.  He retells how his parents grew up, met each other in college, fell in love, and then decided to leave after Simon was born.  The government didn't allow them to leave for three years.  In that time, they forbade his father to work, his parents were forced to sell almost everything they had, and they were ostracized for their choice to leave.  Finally, tired and broke, they were granted permission to leave to West Berlin - and this is the first real memory Simon has a child.

Simon Schwartz's retelling of his family's struggle to be free of the ideals of East Berlin is similar to how Marjane leaves Iran in Persepolis, or how Margarent Engle tells her stories as a child between Cuba and the United using poetry as a format in Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir.  These works describe how families are affected by war and how children must grow up in the midst of violence and adversity of this type. It would be an excellent topic to juxtapose these three works, especially this one and Persepolis.  These wars and the political unrest occur in the 80s and early 90s.  It would also be interesting to compare what is happening in either country or region during the time in the book.

These are the two previously discussed.  They have similar themes.

Requirement: Great Graphic Novel for Teens
Book cover images from