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The Wall
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The Land Beyond The Wall
Written & Illustrated by Veronika Martenova Charles

Emma lives on the grey, cold, lonely side of a wall, where people speak in whispers and no flowers grow. On the other side, there is happiness and colour, but she can never go there. When Emma’s parents disappear, she is sent to live with her Aunt Lily, who, “just like the land withered from lack of sunshine, was broken by the life she led.” One day, Aunt Lily discovers Emma drawing and dashes her niece’s dream of becoming an artist. That is, until one day, when a strange boat captain, and an even stranger boat, arrive, and she leaves her world behind forever.

Following Emma’s arrival in a strange land (Halifax’s Pier 21), her placement in a group home, and the discovery of her voice through art, The Land Beyond the Wall is a beautifully rendered allegory that uses magic realism to confront the harsh realities of immigration, and the universal struggle of finding one’s voice, and one’s place in the world.


• Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" Award, 2017

Atlantic Books Today
The Land Beyond the Wall is a story of bravery, hope and determination. And although Charles uses age-appropriate prose and shields her audience from the specifics of her main character's predicament, the political and social messages are clear: all people deserve to be free, art is important and the world is often unfair.

Resource Links
Even recent immigrants would be able to identify with the feelings portrayed in the book, as well as those seeking to learn about the experience.

CM Magazine
… moving, allegorical picture book; Charles’ watercolour illustrations evocatively capture Emma’s feelings of loneliness and displacement. With powerful imagery and heart-felt emotion, The Land Beyond the Wall will spark discussion and reflection. Highly Recommended.

Canadian Children's Book News (Toronto, ON)
The allegorical tale beautifully evokes both sense of life behind the Iron Curtain and the universal struggle of immigrants to find a voice and a place in a new country. The story works well as a read-aloud; the language and the rhythm of an experienced storyteller is evident on every page. Charles’ gentle illustrations move from grey-toned in Emma's homeland and in her moments of despair to bright and sunny as she begins to achieve her dream.

Quill & Quire – Editor’s choice
…personal, fairy-tale tinged story based in part on the author’s own experience of coming to Canada… These types of… stories… serve a dual purpose: on the one hand they let children know that they are not alone, not the only ones who have come through hardship and awfulness. On the other, they offer inspiration, a message directly from the author that says, “I did it. You can, too.” That Charles relates her personal fairy tale with such delicacy and style is a bonus.

click to enlarge

Published by Nimbus

Cover artwork used with permission.
All rights reserved.

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© copyright Veronika Martenova Charles. Artwork used by permission. Website by Hoffworks