Wednesday, October 29, 2008


How did I miss this one?????  ACROSS THE ALLEY is not a new picture book, it was actually published in 2006, but I'd never heard of it until this week, when the librarian at school showed it to me. Now that I've read it, I can't believe that I have not heard more about it, because it's a really special book. 

Willie is a ten-year-old African American boy whose father played baseball in the Negro Leagues. Abe is a Jewish boy, about the same age. His grandfather was a concert violinist in the "old country." Willie's father wants him to be a professional baseball player, likewise, Abe's grandfather dreams that he will  be a famous musician. 

Because of the beliefs of that time, the boys are not allowed to play together during the day; but at night, across the alley, that all changes. Willie teaches Abe how to throw the baseball, and Abe teaches Willie to play the violin. When Abe's grandfather finally learns that it's not his grandson, but rather Willie, playing such beautiful music, he invites the him to play at synagogue. Similarly, Abe is invited to play in the baseball game that afternoon. 

E.B. Lewis, who illustrated THE OTHER SIDE by Jacqueline Woodson, also did the artwork for this book. And like THE OTHER SIDE, the illustrations are so, so beautiful. 

I'm putting this book in a basket with SISTER ANNE'S HANDS, THE OTHER SIDE by Jacqueline Woodson, AND WE ARE THE SHIP by Kadir Nelson. I can't wait to share it with kids. 

1 comment:

Andromeda Jazmon said...

We really love this books too. Sweet and deep - it's a really perspective changer. Thanks for the review!