Emily's Reviews > The Other Side

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
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Feb 03, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: children-s-picture, historical-fiction, multicultural
Read in June, 2007

Pages: 32
Age range: 4 - 8
Genre: Picture
Race/Culture/Ethnic Group: African American

Summary: Clover, a young African American girl, is told by her mother never to climb over the fence which separates the white and black sides of town. When a little white girl moves into the house next door – on the other side of the fence, Clover and the new girl find that the fence can’t keep friends apart.

Evaluation: Woodson has written many books for older children and young adults (several of which I have read and enjoyed), but this is the first time I saw a picture book by her as well. Woodson is able to convey the voice of her character in this text nearly as well as she does in books such as Melanin Sun and If You Come Softly. Lewis’s double page watercolor illustrations bring further life to Woodson’s illustrations. On thing I noticed was that, like in Maniac Magee, it is the white girl who makes the first move and sits atop the fence and approaches Clover. Also, all the children end up playing together, they always play on Clover’s side (the black side) of the fence.
This would be a good picture book for any young child and would work well in a classroom setting to open discussions on racial divisions and intolerance. A message of hope is evident at the end when Annie says, “Someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down.” As with many things, the voices of young children are usually the voices of acceptance and hope.
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