The Other Side, which happens to be written by none other than Jacqueline Woodson (author of Brown Girl Dreaming), portrays a rural community controlled by racial tension and segregation, where two young girls are encouraged (or essentially required) by their mothers to stay away from each other, simply because of the varying colors of their skin.
Published in 2001, The Other Side contains many of the themes that existed in Brown Girl Dreaming: friendship, acceptance, and racism. Woodson does a beautiful job of capturing the way racism may look to a young and innocent child with a big heart, confused as to why the color of someone’s skin should determine who they can befriend.
The watercolor illustrations in this book were created by E.B. Lewis, an individual who has illustrated numerous picture books about race. The illustrations in The Other Side are so memorable; each page includes a large, detailed painting, realistic enough that a reader might mistake them for photographs. Each illustration helps to advance the text by portraying the main character’s warm heart through the use of soft colors and facial expressions.
This book, in terms of both writing and illustrations, gets an A+ in my book!