Saturday, August 30, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Title: The Other Side

Author:  Jacqueline Woodson

Artist: E. B. Lewis

Genre:  Racism / Friendship / African American

Year Published: 2001

Year Read: 2014

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons  

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Theme of Racism)

I have been reading many children’s books that deal with prejudice and racism, but out of all the children’s books I had read that dealt with that subject; “The Other Side” which is written by Jacqueline Woodson along with illustrations by E. B. Lewis, is probably one of the most uplifting children’s books that deal with that subject ever!

Clover was a young black girl who always wondered about why her mother refused to let her go on the other side of the fence, where a white family lives at.  It was then that Clover meets a young white girl named Annie, who was always seen sitting on the fence and Clover just keeps getting more curious about this young girl.  Clover then decides to talk to Annie and…

Wow! This book was simply amazing! I have read many books that deal with the subject of racism and prejudice in a rather straight forward way, but I have never read a children’s book that actually has the main character question about why racism and prejudice should rule the lives of people.  Jacqueline Woodson’s writing is extremely beautiful and heartwarming as it details a young girl’s curiosity about why she could not communicate with a young white girl and what kind of hold racism and prejudice has on society as a whole.  I loved the way that Jacqueline Woodson really explored Clover’s innocent nature in trying to understand about how racism and prejudice can take its toll on society and how she still tries to have a conversation with Annie, despite her friends and her mother warning her to not talk to Annie because she is white.  I really loved the fact that Clover does not show any prejudice against Annie because she is white and it shows that Clover is extremely open to meeting new people no matter what race they are.  I also loved how much significance the fence has in this story as it shows how divided the blacks and whites are from each other and the fact that Annie is constantly sitting on the fence shows that even racism and prejudice cannot overcome the friendship between two people.  E. B. Lewis’ artwork is drawn beautifully as the characters look so realistic and they really brought out the realism in the situation about racism and prejudice in society.  I also loved the way that E. B. Lewis drew the countryside as it looks truly beautiful and it really captures the beauty of this story.

My only problem with this book was that Clover’s friends do not seem to care about Annie even towards the end.  I would have liked to see Clover’s friends develop in this book like Clover and see them actually show some interest in Annie since that would have made their characters just as interesting as Clover’s characters.

Overall, “The Other Side” is a brilliant children’s book that helps show children how racism and prejudice cannot overcome a friendship between two people of different cultures.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the subject matter might confuse smaller children.


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