Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Other Side By Jacqueline Woodson

This book showcases a very simplistic story about a black and white girl who must overcome the stifling effect of racism in childhood. A fence separates the town into two sides, one side for blacks and the other side for whites. Although the girls are advised to never go to the other side, they decide that sitting on the fence isn’t going against the rules, leading them to become friends with one another. By the end of the story Annie says, “Someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down” which is the most important line of the book that easily leads the teacher into the third and fourth domain of sje. The teacher can focus on people in history who have knocked the “fence” [racism] down and could also encourage social action within the children by asking how they could knock the fence down. This book also promotes respect between black and white students. What I liked most about the book is how simple the message of racism comes through; making it easy to use with younger children without disturbing them. This book is excellent for studying literary elements such as symbolism [the fence] and for teaching literacy lessons through read alouds. Also, weather is a major component of the book and can be used as part of the science curricula.

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