The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Updated: Jan 30



BOOK The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis


LESSON PLAN EDITING Bridget Fuller & Kevin Lembke

This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Lesson content, written by Monica Alward, a student in the Social Justice in K12 Education course at Portland State University, was created to start or deepen anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


This picture book is about a young Black girl named Clover. She lives with her mother in a house that is in the South. Over the summer, she spends her time outside by herself or with her friends. At the beginning of the summer, while playing outside, she meets a young white girl named Anne Paul. Anne lives in the house next to hers on the other side of the fence. Since they are not allowed to play on each other's halves of the barrier because of segregation in the South, Clover only watches Anne instead of playing. One day that all changes when Clover decides to introduce herself. Both girls and even Clover's other playmates eventually form a bond of friendship over time.

I can relate to this book because my grandfather was racist. While my grandmother was growing up, she and her siblings were taught that it was forbidden to play with any Black children who might live next to them because the color of their skin might rub off on them. I've never known my great-grandfather because he passed away before I was born. As a person of color, it's disappointing to me that he felt that way. Sometimes when I hear stories from my grandmother about him, I know that if he were still alive, he couldn't be completely accepting of me. I don't have his ideal family looks despite that being a hard worker with a decent moral compass. I understand why he had these thoughts and opinions. My great-grandfather and his wife came from families primarily of European descent living in a time when there was still segregation in the North. Without an opportunity for someone to experience diversity, then racism and prejudice can be uninterrupted.



This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity and social justice in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.

The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced during discussion question development in this lesson are for Grades [K-3]. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Here are the domains used to create the discussion questions.

  • Identity Domain, Standard #3 I know that all my group identities are a part of me--but that I am always ALL me.

  • Diversity Domain, Standard # 8 Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.

  • Justice Domain, Standard #12 Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g discrimination).

  • Action Domain, Standard # 16 Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.


  • Do you think that Clover and Anne can be good friends even though they’re from different backgrounds? Identity Standard #3

  • What do you think living on the other side of the fence is like for Clover or Anne? Diversity Standard #8

  • Why might Clover’s friends think playing with Anne isn’t good in the beginning of the story? Justice Standard #12

  • What non-violent action would you take if you or one of your classmates was mistreated because of the color of their skin? Action Standard #16