Book Review | Across the Alley
by Richard, Michelson

Score: 4

Illustrated by E. B. Lewis.

© 2006 – Putnam.

This story is set in old-time Brooklyn, New York. Abe is a young, white, Jewish boy. Willie is his young, black neighbor. Abe’s grandfather thinks he will be “the next Jascha Heifetz.” Willie’s father “was a starter in the Negro leagues” therefore Willie is “going to pitch in the majors.” Abe and Willie share their caretakers’ dreams every night as they toss a baseball through their open bedroom  windows before Abe has to start his violin practice.

This is a story about how the dreams of others do not always turn out as planned. It is also about how friendship knows no color.  For of course it turns out that Willie is an excellent violin player and Abe is a super baseball pitcher. When their talents are realized, Abe’s grandfather invites Willie to his synagogue to play, breaking  the color barrier there and Willie’s father invites Abe to pitch, breaking the color barrier for Willie’s team.

With beautiful illustrations and a beautiful story of friendship and true talent realized, I recommend this book to all Jewish libraries as it shows the relationship between blacks and whites in the early days in Brooklyn.

Grade Level:
1-4

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