The Boy who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford – A Review

Today we bring you a review of a new children’s book written by Ali Redford and illustrated Kara Simpson, called The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself.

boy and wallThis book is a picture book, and the story is about a child who hides his emotions by build a metaphoric wall around himself. The wall is gradually dismantled through a “kind person’s” perseverance in offering help and understanding.

I read the book myself first and then, I asked a number of other people to read it and also I read it through with my twelve year old son.

On my first read through of the book ,I felt very emotional. The book is beautifully worded and illustrated, and of course I could instantly relate the story to both of my sons.  I really enjoyed the intelligent and yet simple metaphors used to describe emotions.

“Heavy words tumbled out in waterfalls until some of the bricks came loose”.

In the illustrations, the clever use of colour really assists the story and the understanding of the feelings. At the start of the story all the graphics are monochrome and as the “kind person” enters the story, colour is gradually introduced.

It’s safe to say I loved this book the first time I read it.

When I read the book through with my twelve year old son, I was a little concerned that he might find it a little young for him, but his first exclamation was “amazing graphics” and that’s when I understood just how clever the illustrations are. There is an almost graphic novel look to them and it therefore can appeal to older children. I can see how this could be useful as older children often need the simplicity of the word in the book but don’t want to be considered to be reading something “babyish”.

At the end of reading it through with my son, I asked him “can you relate any of the book to yourself”.

“Yes, I have wall around myself and you are helping to bring it down, she even looks like you” he said pointing to the kind person. A happy coincidence but I was impressed with his understanding none the less.

I also showed the book to my mum who used to work in school library services for our LA. Part of her job was selecting books to go into school libraries. She was very impressed with the book and suggested that “every school library should have a copy of this book; there are so many children that could benefit from reading it”.

My mums referred to the fact that lots of children may relate to the story but also it would assist other children understand the emotions of some of the children whom struggle in school.

“It’s a great book to base an assembly on” she suggested.

In all, I think this book is a sensitive story which will bring awareness to children of how emotions can be hidden behind  challenging behaviour. I have to agree that this would indeed be a good book for schools to own, particularly for use with children key stage 2 and upwards. In fact if you feel that your child’s school would be receptive to this book, why not invest in a copy for them, it would make a lovely end of year gift for a teacher.

Buy This Book.

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