The Wall & the Wind
by Veselina Tomova
Included in the Globe & Mail's "The Globe 100" for 2020
But for all her bravery and imagination, there was one thing the girl could not do—she could not jump over the WALL.
In the middle of the twentieth century, in the middle of Eastern Europe, a young girl dreams of adventures far and near. One day, a huge wall appears that separates East from West, and dreamer from dreams. No ladder is tall enough, no tunnel deep enough to get past that wall. But then a crack appears in the wall, and the girl (now a woman) knows she has the chance to follow her dreams again.
In this gentle and moving picture book, Veselina Tomova tells the story of her own immigrant journey. As she writes in the book's afterword: "One can be a wanderer by choice, driven by curiosity and longing to reach new frontiers, or just be tossed in the turmoil of circumstances beyond one's control and running for safety. But we all crave a place to call home." This timely and beautiful story celebrates that impulse to find a home, and to cultivate a community.
What folks are saying
"Rarely have I been so charmed by a book. The story and the illustrations, equally rich and engaging, show how dreams soar over adversity, how creativity unites separate worlds. The Wall & the Wind is a gem of a story for both children and adults." ~Kevin Major, author of The House of Wooden Santas, Hold Fast, Land Beyond the Sea, and One for the Rock
"The Wall & the Wind is a wonderful picture book memoir, a story of relocation, a daring-to-dream story about another place to call home. Veselina Tomova's authentic voice and rich palette clearly evoke the moments and movements of the story, from intimate to historical. The author capably shows how forced boundaries—the Wall—cannot contain a free spirit. Tomova proceeds sometimes playfully sometimes dramatically, her wish deep 'to go beyond' a precious message. She boldly depicts the dark presence of the Wall, while portraying the force of the Newfoundland wind as a freeing positive presence. With a gentle hand and a sensitive tone, Tomova reconciles the two worlds and identities she has experienced and that now define her. A personal story with charming memories but steeped in the magic of the present. A beautiful book and a welcome addition to any library." ~ Mariella Bertelli, storyteller, former children's librarian, translator (with the Lampedusa high school students) of Mary Beth Leatherdale's Stormy Seas, co-coordinator of the Canadian Exhibit of IBBY's Silent Book Final Destination: Lampedusa project
"The multimedia illustrations are rich and layered in both concept and construction. Their handcrafted appearance—with visible brush strokes, scratchings that cut through paint to show the canvas, and glued-on feathers, fabrics and cut-outs of embroidered flowers—visually conveys something of the depth and texture of lived experience." ~ Amanda Lastoria, Quill & Quire (Read the full review.)
"... the poignant longing for freedom shines through." ~ Kirkus Reviews (Read the full review.)
"A unique telling of the immigrant story, serious and charmingly light at the same time. A vibrant, folk-painting feast for the eyes, an organic fusion, celebrating freedom and the natural world. This book gives fresh meaning to the old expression, 'free as the wind'." ~Tom Dawe, author of An Old Man's Winter Night, Spirited Away, Where Genesis Begins, and New and Collected Poems