The Other Side
Woodson, Jacqueline. 2001. The Other Side. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
Annie and Clover try to make sense of the racial tension that divides their town and overcome physical and social barriers that inhibit their friendship in Jacqueline Woodson’s heartwarming book, The Other Side. E.B. Lewis’ beautiful watercolor illustrations give this poignant story a gentle, pastoral feeling. The illustrations can be so realistic that they almost look like photographs capturing the essence of the time. The fence dividing the town can be found throughout the book and is a powerful metaphor for the race barrier isolating the children and adults of the community. At the end of the story, as the children try to find a solution to an adult problem, Annie says, “someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down.” This hopeful union of two children who simply aspire for friendship is an inspiration for all of us to strive for tolerance and acceptance.