The Other Side of the Wall

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

Simon Schwartz was born in 1982 in East Germany, at a time when the repressive Socialist Unity Party of Germany controlled the area. Shortly before Simon’s birth, his parents decided to leave their home in search of greater freedoms on the other side of the Berlin Wall. But East German authorities did not allow the Schwartzes to leave for almost three years. In the meantime, Simon’s parents struggled with the costs of their decision: the loss of work, the attention of the East German secret police, and the fragmentation of their family.

In his debut graphic novel, Simon Schwartz tells the true story of his parents’ coming of age in East Germany, their rejection of the communist way of life, and the challenges of leaving that world behind.

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Interest Level Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction
Copyright 2015
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Number of Pages 112
Publication Date 2015-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.3
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS YAN006030, YAN025220, YAN052040
Dewey 305.9'06914092243
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 580
ATOS Reading Level 4.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 171363
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Glossary, Maps, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Timeline

Author: Simon Schwartz

Simon Schwartz grew up in Berlin, Germany. He is a freelance illustrator and illustration professor in Hamburg, Germany.


  • ALSC Graphic Novels Reading List, Winner, 2018
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Winner, 2016


Publishers Weekly

“…Schwartz’s smart, probing account makes this piece of history matter.”—Publishers Weekly


“Schwartz’s black-and-white cartooning abets this simpler, emotionally resonant style with large, minimalist faces that powerfully express feelings, while realistic backgrounds give an underlying sense of authenticity.” —Booklist

School Library Journal

“Depicted in black and white with a realistic style that portrays a grim history without being overly stark, this graphic novel shares an important view of recent history…. A good addition to school and public libraries looking to add diversity to their teen or secondary education graphic novel collections.” —School Library Journal