The Other Side

( 13 )

Overview

Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

With the addition of a brand-new author's note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and...

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Overview

Clover's mom says it isn't safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups' rules by sitting on top of the fence together.

With the addition of a brand-new author's note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis's amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

Two girls, one white and one black, gradually get to know each other as they sit on the fence that divides their town.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jacqueline Woodson usually writes provocative young adult novels. Now, younger children can revel in her special storytelling abilities. In this moving picture book, Clover, a young African American girl, notices a new neighbor has moved next door. A fence separates the two yards. This neighbor turns out to be a young white girl, Annie. Despite her mother's warning to stay away from her new neighbor, Clover goes closer and closer to the fence, as does Annie. She and Annie gradually become friends and enjoy each other's company by sitting on the fence. Soon Clover's friends accept Annie, and race issues disappear. While the fence still remains, Woodson demonstrates how children can help tear these fences down. This message, along with Lewis' beautiful pictures, creates a book that belongs on all bookshelves. 2001, G. P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph
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 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Two young girls -- one African American, one Caucasian -- have been told not to cross the barrier that separates their backyards, but they find their way to friendship nevertheless. This story will also resonate with older kids, who can appreciate the deeper themes and strong visual metaphor of the fence.

Kirkus Reviews
Race relations, a complex issue, is addressed in a simple manner through the eyes of two young girls, one black and one white, on either side of a fence that divides their yards and, in fact, the town. Both girls have been instructed not to go on the other side of the fence because it's not safe. Each stares at the other, yearning to know more, but they don't communicate. When Annie, the white girl, climbs on the fence and asks to jump rope, she is told no by the leader of the black group. The narrator, Clover, has mixed feelings and is unsure whether she would have said yes or no. Later, the girls, with their mothers, meet on the sidewalk in town, looking very much the same, except for the color of their skin. When asked why the mothers don't talk, the explanation is,"because that's the way things have always been." During the heavy summer rains, Annie is outside in her raincoat and boots, having fun splashing in puddles—but Clover must stay inside. When the rains stop, Clover is set free, emerging as a brave soul and approaching Annie in the spirit of her freedom. Eventually, the story finds both girls and all of Clover's friends sitting on the fence together, kindred spirits in the end."Someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down," Annie says. What a great metaphor Woodson has created for knocking down old beliefs and barriers that keep people apart. Children learn that change can happen little by little, one child at a time. Award-winning Lewis's lovely realistic watercolor paintings allow readers to be quiet observers viewing the issue from both sides. (Picture book. 5+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399231162
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 34,968
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.27 (w) x 11.52 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Woodson is a three time Newbery Honor Award winner. Her other picture book with E. B. Lewis, Coming On Home Soon, was a Caldecott Honor Book. Her picture book with Hudson Talbott, Show Way, was a Newbery Honor Book, as were her novels Feathers and After Tupac and D Foster. Other novels include Coretta Scott King Award Winner Miracle's Boys and National Book Award nominee Locomotion. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

E. B. Lewis, the celebrated illustrator of many beautiful picture books, has received a Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Someday Soon

    The fence is a barrier between two different "worlds". One day two people decide to sit on the fence and the two "worlds" join. These two people hope that someday soon the fence will be knocked down and the two "worlds" of people will freely join and enjoy each other. A wonderful tale of a summer of learning is in this book. It is a good book for young picture book readers.

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  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Someday Soon

    The fence is a barrier between two different "worlds". One day two people decide to sit on the fence and the two "worlds" join. These two people hope that someday soon the fence will be knocked down and the two "worlds" of people will freely join and enjoy each other. A wonderful tale of a summer of learning is in this book. It is a good book for young picture book readers. Favorable: insightful and enlightening reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2008

    An Inspirational Story of Friendship

    This is a wonderful story about the power of friendship. Two girls, Clover and Annie, live on opposite sides of a fence that divides the town. Clover doesn¿t understand why the fence is there. She wants to know why the black side of town is separated by the white side of town and isn¿t satisfied with her mother¿s answer, ¿Because that¿s the way things have always been.¿ Clover and Annie don¿t let the fence divide their worlds and overcome this segregation by becoming friends. They use the fence as a place to come together and to change the world around them. Woodson, Jacqueline. Illustrations by E. B. Lewis. The Other Side. New York: G. P. Putnam¿s Sons, 2001. ISBN 0-399-23116-1. Grades 1-4.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    Amazing Read Aloud

    Perfect book for students of all ages to infer the complexities of racism, and the courage needed to make change occur.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2003

    the other side

    very nice pictures not a child so the story is okay

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2003

    The Other Side

    Two little girls - one black and one white -don't let a racial problem stop them from becoming friends. They gradually become more comfortable with each other by sitting on a fence that separates their yards. I felt that the storyline could have been more exciting. I think children will relate to this book well. The illustration also will help children understand the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2002

    This book is really good. It reminds me of Martin Luther King.

    This story reminds me of Martin Luther King. He was a black man and white people were mean to him. He was able to help people understand that white people and black people are really the same. Annie and Clover showed the other children that they could all be friends and it doesn¿t matter if they are black or white. They can still be friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2002

    Other Side

    I liked this book but I didn't like this book. The reason I liked this book was because it has friendship and I love friendship. The reason I didn't like this book is because it didn't have so much excitement and that's another thing I like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2002

    Other Side

    I thought that this book was unfair because they weren't allowed to go on the other side of the other person's property. If they did they would get in trouble. I learned that whatever color you are it doesn't matter because everyone is special in their own way. I think that in the book they should have been allowed to go onto each other's side.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2002

    Geat book , Jacqueline Woodson!

    I thought that the story is about a lesson that if you are different you can still be friends. But there was a girl named Sandra who thought if you are different you can not play with her. But then she learned that if Clover and Annie can be friends she can too. When I was new at my school I thought because I was new and all the other kids had friends I didn't have friends. I asked to play and some kids said, 'No,' and some said, 'Yes!' Wehn they said no, I felt very sad because I was not being liked by some kids but soon some people started being nice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2002

    I love this book!!

    While I was reading this book, questions came to my mind. Why did Annie wear a sweater in the summer? Why did Sandra say no when Annie asked to play without even asking the other girls? That is so mean of Sandra to say no but I am still glad that they all became friends. I can relate to Sandra because I yell at my sister when I have friends over. She asks to play with us and sometimes I say, 'NO!' I can relate to Annie because when I was little I didn't have friends and when I asked to play, they said, 'NO!'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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