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Across the Alley by Richard Michelson

Across the Alley by Richard Michelson

During the day, Abe practices his violin to please his Jewish grandfather. His African-American neighbor Willie works to be as good at baseball as his father, a starter in the Negro leagues. But at night, the two boys meet Across the Alley in this story by Richard Michelson. Leaning out their bedroom windows, they swap hobbies and share dreams, until the night they are discovered.

Earl Lewis’s rich, detailed illustrations support text by Richard Michelson that remains gentle and approachable despite addressing serious concepts. Because it touches on both segregation and the Holocaust, parents and teachers may want to use this book as a way to prompt their own discussions about intolerance and acceptance.

For other books about overcoming prejudice, try Jacqueline Woodson’s The Other Side, in which two girls become friends across the fence that divides their segregated town, and Patricia Polacco’s Mr. Lincoln’s Way, in which a school principal shows a troublesome student how to appreciate everyone, no matter what they look like.

Across the Alley is a touching story that provides a good introduction to a weighty topic.