Racial Harmony in Picture Book Form: The Other Side

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. Putnum, 2001.

Beautiful, moving, inspiring. Woodson writes with a lovely, authentic voice and tells a story of hope for racial reconciliation by showing instead of telling. The fence is an obvious metaphor, but the symbolism could easily transcend race and encourage harmony and healing in other areas as well.

Delightful, timeless illustrations take the book from the here and now which, somehow, makes it all the easier to apply the lesson to our current circumstances. In the end the girls don’t break the rules of segregation, they just find a way around them, all to the mother’s wonder at their ingenuity. Lesson learned: creativity and persistence can overcome any obstacle.