Jacqueline Woodson, Author
E.B. Lewis, Illustrations, Fiction, 2001
Suitable for: Ages 5 and Up
Themes: Diversity, Friendship, Racial Equality, Segregation
Opening/Synopsis: That summer the fence that stretched through our town seemed bigger. We live in a yellow house on one side of it. White people live on the other. And Mama said, “Don’t climb over that fence when you play.” She said it wasn’t safe. Two girls, one white (Annie) and one black (Clover) live in houses on the opposite sides of the fence. Every morning, Annie climbs up on the fence and sits and watches Clover and her friends jumping rope. They don’t invite Annie to play. She sits on the fence every day rain or shine. She dances in rain puddles by herself. One day Clover goes over to the fence and climbs up to sit with Annie. They become good friends and spend the entire summer sitting on the fence that the adults built to separate their two communities.
What I like about this book: This is an excellent book to discuss the history of racism and diversity with children. Clover narrates this realistic and lyrical book by Jacqueline Woodson. E.B. Lewis’s beautiful water-color illustrations give the book a warm and friendly feeling. This book clearly shows how children don’t see color. They are puzzled by the fence between the black and white neighborhoods in their small town. They don’t disobey the rules, but find a clever way around them by sitting together on top of the fence. They aren’t going to let a fence get in the way of their friendship. Woodson does an outstanding job of showing that friendship can overcome any racial barrier. This is the 11th anniversary of this classic book. It continues to be a great book for classroom discussions.
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