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The Other Side Hardcover – January 15, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Woodson (If You Come Softly; I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This) lays out her resonant story like a poem, its central metaphor a fence that divides blacks from whites. Lewis's (My Rows and Piles of Coins) evocative watercolors lay bare the personalities and emotions of her two young heroines, one African-American and one white. As the girls, both instructed by their mothers not to climb over the fence, watch each other from a distance, their body language and facial expressions provide clues to their ambivalence about their mothers' directives. Intrigued by her free-spirited white neighbor, narrator Clover watches enviously from her window as "that girl" plays outdoors in the rain. And after footloose Annie introduces herself, she points out to Clover that "a fence like this was made for sitting on"; what was a barrier between the new friends' worlds becomes a peaceful perch where the two spend time together throughout the summer. By season's end, they join Clover's other pals jumping rope and, when they stop to rest, "We sat up on the fence, all of us in a long line." Lewis depicts bygone days with the girls in dresses and white sneakers and socks, and Woodson hints at a bright future with her closing lines: "Someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down," says Annie, and Clover agrees. Pictures and words make strong partners here, convincingly communicating a timeless lesson. Ages 5-up. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-4-A story of friendship across a racial divide. Clover, the young African-American narrator, 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 one summer morning, Clover notices a girl on the other side. Both children are curious about one another, and as the summer stretches on, Clover and Annie work up the nerve to introduce themselves. They dodge the injunction against crossing the fence by sitting on top of it together, and Clover pretends not to care when her friends react strangely at the sight of her sitting side by side with a white girl. Eventually, it's the fence that's out of place, not the friendship. Woodson's spare text is easy and unencumbered. In her deft care, a story that might have suffered from heavy-handed didacticism manages to plumb great depths with understated simplicity. In Lewis's accompanying watercolor illustrations, Clover and her friends pass their summer beneath a blinding sun that casts dark but shallow shadows. Text and art work together beautifully.-Catherine T. Quattlebaum, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD300L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (January 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399231161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399231162
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What baby boomer cannot relate to a book that portrays the "dividing line" that separated blacks and whites in this country prior to the Civil Rights Movement!!!
This story shows two youngsters, one black and one white, that come to bridge the gap by making a simple gesture of sitting on the fence that comes between their two homes.
Such a simple act has great power and the book is perfect for primary and elementary learners, thought-provoking and beautifully illustrated.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a touching story about how children don't see black and white, but see potential friendship and possibilities. Two little girls learn how to work around "the fence" that adults have constructed and find a friend. For teachers, this is a fabulous book for teaching questioning strategies in reading. The illustrations are wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a story about a young African American girl who is not supposed to play on the other side of the fence because "that's the way things are." There is a white girl who lives on the other side. The two children study one another from afar until one day they meet on opposite sides of the fence. Though neither of them are allowed to climb over the fence, their friendship blossoms as they both sit on top of it. A subtle way to show children that friendship can overcome any barrier...even race.
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A Kid's Review on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Do you like sad, heart-touching children stories? Then you would love, The Other Side. It's a children's story by Jacqueline Woodson. The main characters are of different race, and they end up getting along very well and becoming friends. The main idea of The Other Side is that people, especially kids, can get along with someone even though they are different.

Another main point is that children can teach adults a lot about getting along and accepting people for who they are. The book is written for children to understand and also for adults to learn about how it was for children and parents in the past. The Other Side is a great realistic fiction book and will teach people of all ages about history of segregation.
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Format: Hardcover
Moving, simple, perfect. It needs to be in every library, and dare I say every home. It is one of those rare read alouds that will hold children ages 5-12 spellbound. A great choice for literature circles, it's especially strong for questioning.
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Format: Hardcover
This picture book is an excellent book. It helps explain in simple terms what life was like during the civil war. The story involves two girls, one is white, the other is African American. They live on either side of a fence. Their mothers tell them that they can not cross the fence, the girls listen to their mothers for a while and sit on the fence but never crossing it. After a while the girls eventually cross the fence, and suprisingly no one seems to mind, so they continue their friendship.
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Format: Hardcover
"That summer the fence that stretched through our town seemed bigger. We lived in a yellow house on one side of it. White people lived on the other. And Mama said, "Don't climb over that fence when you play." She said it wasn't safe..." Soon our narrator, Clover, sees a little white girl, Annie, hanging on the fence and staring into their yard, day after day. She was always alone. Finally, one day Clover gets close enough to the fence to talk to the little girl. They exchange names, and smiles, and pretty soon the two are sitting together on top of the fence. "My mama says I shouldn't go on the other side," I said. "My mama says the same thing. But she never said nothing about sitting on it." "Neither did mine," I said. That summer me and Annie sat on that fence and watched the whole wide world around us..." Jacqueline Woodson's eloquent and understated prose captures the feel of the old South in the 1950's, before integration, and is both poignant and uplifting. E B Lewis's elegant watercolors complement the text with expressive heartwarming and lifelike illustrations in soft summer tones. Together, word and art paint an engaging portrait of times gone by with a gentle message that won't be lost on young readers. Perfect for youngsters 7-10, or as a read aloud for younger children, The Other Side is a sensitive and evocative story, told with great insight, wisdom, and truth. "Someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down," Annie said. And I nodded. "Yeah," I said. "Someday."
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A Kid's Review on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down." This is a quote from the book The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. A book set in the 20th century that tells about two little girls and one large fence. This book using symbolism, one girl is black the other is white and they symbolize the two ethnics and the fence symbolizes how racism would divide them.

Not just about two little girls, but about big problems. The white girl can't go and play with the black girl because of a dumb fence. Even though it seperates them over time the two girls sit on the fence, symbolizing not all people were racist, and that two colors can mix. The Other Side is a perfect example of a heavy problem turned into a children's book. This book tells that many attempts to segregate have been acting like they are working but they really arent.

If you don't think this is a good book you are wrong. YOu are wrong becuase what other kind of book can tell something like this? Many kid's stories aren't carefree, they actually have issues. I think that Jacqueline WOodson is a great author to be able to do something like this.
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