On anniversary of Berlin Wall’s fall, author talks ‘walls’ with high school students

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 Beth Kephart displays work by students she met while visiting local high schools to discuss her new book, 'Going Over' (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Beth Kephart displays work by students she met while visiting local high schools to discuss her new book, 'Going Over' (Emma Lee/WHYY)

This month marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

And a Philadelphia author is marking the occasion with discussions about her new young adult novel, “Going Over,” about two lovers separated by the wall in Cold War-era Germany.

“One lives in the West. She’s a graffiti artist, and she believes escape and freedom are possible,” said  Beth Kephart. “And there’s a boyfriend who lives on the other side of the wall, who has dreams but is constrained and doesn’t quite know whether freedom is worth the risk.”

To shed more light on the physical and metaphorical “walls” that divide us, Kephart has been visiting area high schools to discuss the book with students.

“They talk about everything from race to being a ninth-grader to being locked inside your own social class or your own mind,” Kephart said.

So far, she has visited Downingtown High West and Radnor High School; she’ll continue the project at Philadelphia-area schools in the coming months.

Kephart said she was surprised at the eagerness of students to engage in difficult, often personal conversations.

“They want to speak,” she said. “It’s beautiful.”

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