Although I had not read this book until recently I thought it would be a great book to read in a classroom. Last semester I was taking a multicultural education class and we needed to find a book that taught a lesson about racism. My sister is a teacher in a third grade classroom in Indianapolis Public Schools and she suggested “The Other Side” by Jacqueline Woodson. I believe this picture book would be great to incorporate into a classroom lesson. It is about two young girls that become friends in a segregated town. They do not care what their parents have said about the other side. It is about doing what you believe in and the power that children contain. I enjoyed this book because it reminded me of a friendship that I had when I was in third and fourth grade. My best friend Tiara was African-American. Although this was not a time of segregation, my school was predominantly white at the time. This friendship was viewed the same as any other by me and my family, but some children at school made racist remarks about Tiara.
I think this book would be a great conversation starter in a classroom. Some children make judgments before knowing, which is why it is important to integrate multicultural education into the classroom. The discussion would depend on the atmosphere in the classroom. I could promote student learning and appreciation of diversity by addressing issues and asking questions. I do feel this book is great for young children to read and the lesson will only be understood if a discussion occurs after the children read the book.