Across the AlleyIllustrated by E. B. Lewis

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Abe and Willie are next door neighbors. During the day they don’t play together, because Abe is Jewish and Willie is black. But at night, when nobody is watching, they’re best friends.

All summer long, Abe and Willie open their windows across the alley to play catch. Abe lends Willie his violin and Willie show Abe how to throw a real big-league slider. Then one night, Abe’s grandfather catches them–will Abe and Willie have the courage to cross the alley and bring their friendship out in the open?

Set against a backdrop of old-time Brooklyn, Michelson’s stirring prose captures both the fun and danger of having a secret best friend.

Listen to Jay O. Sanders reading of Across the Alley:

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  • 2006 National Jewish Book Award Finalist
  • 2007 An Association of Jewish Libraries Notable Book for Younger Readers
  • 2007 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People Finalist
  • Teacher’s Choice Award 2007 – International Reading Association
  • A PJ Library Selection Feature Selection

Jewish Abe and African-American Willie are best friends, but only secretly at night, through the windows of their city apartment buildings…Their bond strengthens when they discover that racism affected both their ancestors… Set during the time of segregation, the story lends hope for a future without racism… A beautiful blend of story and art.
—Kirkus Review

The poignancy of two boys who can be friends only at night is revealed brilliantly in both text and rich watercolor art. Willie’s dad, a starter in the Negro leagues, expects that his son will pitch in the majors. Abe’s Jewish grandfather, a violinist in the old country before World War II, is sure that his grandson will be the next Jascha Heifetz. What neither man knows is that the boys have been sharing their talents across the alley at night… With lovely art that captures the joy both boys feel about their respective talents, this endearing picture book offers a compelling message about overcoming prejudice.
—School Library Journal