An afternoon in the playground introduces different kinds of walls: a brick wall to draw on with chalk, a water wall, and a climbing wall. What follows is a playful yet profound exploration of the many ways walls can divide us or bring us together. When one child is excluded from a game, another builds a castle to leave him out. When the builder declares the castle MINE, other kids feel alienated—but the builder becomes lonely, too, when the others have fun without him. The book ends with the optimism of a new start: friendship, forgiveness, and imagination give the wall new meaning.
Told with short, simple lines of playful, rhyming text and loose line illustrations by internationally known artist Barroux, this book sparks questions with empathy, insight, and charm. It’s a timely tool for inquiry-based and social-emotional learning, sharing the important message that walls can unite or divide, depending on the choices we make.
Previously an elementary school teacher, DIANNE WHITE has a master’s degree in Language and Literacy, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She now writes full time, and lives with her family in Gilbert, Arizona.
BARROUX lives in Paris, France, and has studied photography, art, sculpture, and architecture. His work has been published in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He believes that the world needs fewer walls and more trees.
"Dianne White has written a book with few words that embrace a big idea."
"The story is touching, using few words, but they are words that wield power, especially when paired with Barroux’s colorful artwork."
"A sweet picture book that helps build emotional intelligence, humility and compassion."
"Sometimes a Wall... is a picture book with so many layers. It is a story that teaches us about friendship, conflict, empathy, and forgiveness, in a way that kids of all ages can understand."
"We've read Sometimes a Wall... a number of times now, and each time it gets richer and more meaningful."
"Hopeful and compassionate, this story uses simple language to create concrete connections, and may inspire children to choose a more inclusive way."
"Rhyme, rhythm, and simple art—all including references to walls—show children expressing different emotions and behaviors... Mending walls for the nursery crowd."
"This is a book that will make readers of all ages think... This would make a phenomenal classroom text and would be great for critical thinking and discussions."
"Teachers looking for a book to aide in SEL [Social-Emotional Learning] need look no further than this lovely picture book."