Across the Alley

by Richard Michelson

Other authorsE. B. Lewis (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2006



Call number



G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (2006), Edition: 1, 32 pages


Jewish Abe's grandfather wants him to be a violinist while African-American Wille's father plans for him to be a great baseball pitcher, but it turns out that the two boys are more talented when they switch hobbies.

Library's rating




User reviews

LibraryThing member STBA
Willie, an African-American, and Abe, a Jew, become friends as they look out their bedroom windows in post World War II Brooklyn, New York. They form a unique bond and bash stereotypes as Abe plays baseball and Willie gives a violin concert in the synagogue. This book was named a Notable Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries.… (more)
LibraryThing member awiltenburg
A tremendous look at the unsure and unlikely friendship of two boys who play together at night through their windows but not during the day because of expectations. They teach eachother their specialty; one baseball, one violin and both excel in both areas. This book is a wonderful example of over coming prejudice, accepting differences, true friendship, and genuine care for others. I would use this book to teach character traits, cultural issues, writing skill. The book used many great phrases (.... like the ....) and a gem to dispel prejudice-- "Ignorance comes in as many colors as talent" Grades 2-8… (more)
LibraryThing member pnieme1
Across the Alley tells the story of two young boys who live next door to each other. One is African American, the other is Jewish. The two boys pretend not to know one another all day long. Then at night they talk at their bedroom windows which face each other across the alley. The book tells the story from both boys perspective and does a good job conveying their emotions. The book ends in a more positive accepting light. The story shows children not to be ashamed of your friends and to disregard the negative thoughts of others. People are people.… (more)
LibraryThing member raizel
Abe's grandfather wants him to be a violinist and doesn't approve of baseball. (There is no mention of Abe's parents.) SPOILER: But when he discovers that Willie, the African American boy across the alley, is the one who has been playing Abe's violin at night, he has Willie perform instead of Abe. And Abe pitches at Willie's baseball game. The water color illustrations are very nice. the folded insets of the cover have comments and questions.… (more)
LibraryThing member nbmars
This is a story about two boys who live across the alley from one another. Willie is black and Abe is Jewish. Every night, when the lights go out, the two open their windows that face each other:

“During the day we don’t play together, but at night, when nobody’s watching, Willie and I are best friends.”

It turns out that Willie’s dad wants him to be a baseball player, and Abe’s grandpa wants him to play the violin. Neither one of them is on board with these plans, and in fact, each wants to do what the other is supposed to do. So at night, they teach each other; Abe hands Willie his violin and shows him how to play, and Willie helps Abe practice baseball.

One night Grandpa hears the violin through Abe’s closed door, comes in, and sees it is Willie who is playing. Abe holds his breath, but then Grandpa says to Willie, “You’ll be the next Jascha Heifetz” and shows him the correct position of the bow. Then Grandpa invites Willie to play the violin at his synagogue.

As the four of them walk down the street, Willie’s dad says:

“Let people stare. . . . Ignorance comes in as many colors as talent.”

After that, Willie’s dad helps Abe pitch, while Grandpa is on the sidelines with the other black parents, cheering away.

Light, lovely watercolors by E. B. Lewis capture the emotions of the characters just right.

Evaluation: This winning story has lots of good messages and beautiful artwork.
… (more)


0399239707 / 9780399239700

Other editions

Page: 0.2311 seconds