Module 6: Historical Fiction/SLIS 5420
Woodson, Jacqueline. (2001). The Other Side. (E.B. Lewis, Illus.) New York: G.P. Putnam and Sons.
Phenomenally realistic illustrations that look like E.B. Lewis used vintage photographs to create them give this book a special look and feel. The realism of the photo-like paintings takes the reader back in time to the early days of the Civil Rights Movement when the races were divided by segregation. The prejudice of the adult world keep two children, one black and one white, from playing with each other. They are divided by a fence that keeps them on “the other side” from one another. With true childlike wisdom, the children transcend their society’s prejudices by sitting together on the fence. Woodson beautifully portrays the children’s confusion and common sense approach to their dilemma. “Someday somebody’s going to come along and kknock this old fence down,” Annie says. Amen.
“Two girls transcend racial boundaries when they share a spot on the fence that divides their town. The story resonates with honesty and insight, while the dramatic watercolors accentuate the emotional nuances of the lyrical text.”
Jones, Trev; Toth, Luann; Charnizon, Marlene; Grabarek, Daryl; Fleishhacker, Joy. (2001, December 1). Best Books 2001. Listing: The Other Side. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com
This beautifully written and illustrated book can be used to spark discussion in the classroom about prejudice and its divisiveness as well as to awaken the social conscience of children who may not be aware of the history of racial tension and bigotry in the United States. It would work wonderfully with other picture books about civil rights leaders to talk about the nonviolent movement for change in the US and how standing up against prejudice and questioning or challenging the status quo in a responsible manner led to dynamic change in our nation.