A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids learn empathy and compassion, put themselves in other's shoes, and may come to better understand the challenges of being a refugee. Tastefully weaves in the complexity of child migration from the point of view of a young child, timely and eye-opening.
The story emphasizes the importance of compassion and understanding. Themes include courage, perseverance, and compassion. The unknown can be scary but also beautiful. Kindness, empathy, and helping other matters. Migrant kids deserve a safe place to call home. There's hope for a better future!
Positive Role Models
Young kids show courage and resilience. A strong big sister role model cares for her little brother, protects, and guides him. Strong bonds between siblings. Characters show perseverance and are hopeful that something better waits for them on the other side.
This picture book candidly portrays everyday lives of migrant families moving across the border and uses the lens of humanity to shed light on a difficult topic, exposing traumatizing moments experienced by migrant kids at the border. Seen from the perspective of a child who rationalizes a journey across the border as a game in order to make it safely to the other side. The author compiled the characters from stories she heard from kids at a refugee camp in Tijuana, Mexico, so that this book might give a voice to migrant kids.
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Violence & Scariness
Dark undertones, silhouettes of monsters lurking in the shadows. Kids travel alone, sleep in a dark cave, and take a scary train ride. Kids look frightened after crossing a border wall. Kids' shadows take on monster-like forms but colorful masks soften and balance otherwise dark scenes. Tastefully illustrated; bars and cage-like structures are seen along the journey and at the border.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that To The Other Side, written and illustrated by Erika Meza, is an allegorical picture book that gently addresses child and family migration with compassion and empathy. Meza skillfully balances the challenging aspects of the immigrant experience, presenting it as an adventure or game, while acknowledging the emotional complexity behind colorful masks worn by the kids on this journey. Meza's stunning black and white watercolors add to the story, highlighting scary moments, including dark monsters that lurk in the shadows. Splashes of color soften otherwise dark and scary scenes; kids wear colorful masks to cover up emotions that pull at your heartstrings if you could see them. A timely picture book that can serve as a valuable resource for introducing young readers to a difficult problem with sensitivity and empathy. The author's note at the end of the book adds depth to the narrative and helps readers better connect with the full story.
Is It Any Good?
This poignant, often scary story emphasizes the importance of understanding the immigrant experience. To The Other Side offers an impactful narrative that humanizes the often-overlooked plight of migrant kids. Meza's captivating work of art engages young readers with its emotionally resonant storytelling and sensitively addresses the challenges faced by immigrant families. While the book's handling of immigration may be emotionally charged for younger kids, it remains essential for conveying the realities of the immigrant experience. This compassionate and insightful picture book, beautifully illustrated in black and white with vibrant splashes of red, yellow, orange, and violet, encourages empathy for those navigating similar challenges and makes this a significant addition to children's literature addressing the topic of immigration. Beautiful and whimsical, this unique and timely picture book fosters empathy and appreciation for diversity encouraging meaningful conversations about the immigrant experience and the importance of welcoming those seeking a better life.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Kids' Books About the Immigrant Experience
Picture Books with Truly Amazing Illustrations
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