The Wall by Eve Bunting

The Wall by Eve Bunting - Picture Book Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Author Eve Bunting has a gift for writing about serious subjects in a way that makes them accessible to young children, and she has done just that in her picture book The Wall. This children's picture book is about a father and his young son's visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It's a good book to share on Memorial Day, as well as Veterans Day and any other day of the year.

The Wall by Eve Bunting: The Story

A young boy and his dad have traveled all the way to Washington, DC to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They have come to find the name of the boy's grandfather, his dad's father. The little boy calls the memorial "my grandfather's wall." As the father and son look for the grandfather's name, they meet others who are visiting the memorial, including a veteran in a wheelchair and a couple weeping while hugging one another.

They see flowers, letters, flags, and a teddy bear that have been left at the wall. When they find the name, they do a rubbing and leave a school photograph of the boy on the ground below his grandfather's name. When the boy says, "It's sad here," his father explains, "It's a place of honor."

The Book's Impact

This brief description does not do justice to the book. It is a poignant tale, made more so by the muted watercolor illustrations of Richard Himler. The boy's obvious feelings of loss for a man he never knew, and his father's quiet remark, "He was just my age when he was killed," really bring home the impact of war on the families whose lives have been changed by the loss of a loved one. Yet, while the father and son's visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is bittersweet, it is a comfort to them, and this, in turn, is a comfort to the reader.

The Author and the Illustrator

Author Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and came to the United States as a young woman. She has written more than 200 children's books. These range from picture books to young adult books. She has written other children's books on serious subjects, such as Fly Away Home (homelessness), Smoky Night (the Los Angeles riots) and Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust.

In addition to The Wall, artist Richard Himler has illustrated a number of other books by Eve Bunting. These include Fly Away Home, A Day's Work, and Train to Somewhere. Among the children's books, he's illustrated for other authors are Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and Katie's Trunk.


The Wall is recommended for six- to nine-year-olds. Even if your child is an independent reader, we suggest that you use it as a read-aloud. By reading it aloud to your children, you will have the opportunity to answer any questions they may have, to reassure them, and to discuss the story and the purpose of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You might also put this book on your list of books to read around Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

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Your Citation
Kennedy, Elizabeth. "The Wall by Eve Bunting." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Kennedy, Elizabeth. (2021, February 16). The Wall by Eve Bunting. Retrieved from Kennedy, Elizabeth. "The Wall by Eve Bunting." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 1, 2023).