“The Other Side” by Jacqueline Woodson

It is understandably hard for children who currently live in diverse neighborhoods to understand racial segregation — but it’s an important part of American history children should be taught about.

In The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, the young African-American narrator named Clover, lives beside a fence that segregates her town. Her mother instructs her never to climb over to the other side because it isn’t safe.

But Clover and another girl on the other side of the fence, named Annie, notice one another throughout the summer. One poignant illustration shows Clover and Annie in town with their mothers; the white-gloved adults pass one another without seeing, but the girls turn around and look back with yearning across the sidewalk lines.

Both children are curious about one another, and as the summer stretches on, Clover and Annie work up the nerve to introduce themselves. First the girls sit together on the fence, getting to know each other. Then one day Annie jumps down off the fence to join Clover and her friends jumping rope.

The Other Side is a beautiful book. The watercolor paintings by E. B. Lewis are lovely. Even young children will understand the fence metaphor and they will enjoy the quiet friendship develop.

You can purchase your own copy of The Other Side by clicking the title in this book review or by visiting my storefront by clicking here.

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