Title: Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community
Author(s): Susan Verde
Illustrator/Photographer: John Parra
Publisher and Year: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2018
Number of pages: 28
Tags/Themes: Allison Henry, Diversity, Fiction, Picture Book, K-1,
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: Hey, Wall is the story of a community coming together to beautify their neighborhood by painting the large wall. One young boy notices that the wall is ignored by most everyone in the town and decides to paint the wall. He recruits all his friends, family, and neighbors to paint the wall. They paint the wall to be a reflection of the members of the community. Students would need little background knowledge, besides the knowledge of the words used, to understand this book. At the end of the book is both an author’s note and an illustrator’s note. The illustrations are very colorful and cover the entire page. They are done in acrylics.
Classroom Application: This book could be used in a fine arts lesson in the classroom. A teacher could use this story to introduce a school beautification project to their students. It also connects to Social Emotional Learning Standard 2.C, “Use communication and social skills to interact effectively with others.” The narrator of the story must work convince the people around him to work together to accomplish the goal of making the wall beautiful again.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: The illustrations in this text feature people of every race. The author makes mentions to different cultures when the narrator is talking to the wall. It says, “Can you hear our music? We are salsa dancing [Latinx]. We are hip-hopping [African American]. We are dizzy from spinning.” When they are planning how to paint the wall, everyone contributes their own ideas and experiences to the mural, “We’ve all brought our ideas and imagination.”