Cover image for The other side of truth
The other side of truth
Naidoo, Beverley.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 2001.

Physical Description:
252 pages ; 22 cm
Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother's murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport and they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria.
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 9.0 53694.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.5 15 Quiz: 26601 Guided reading level: Y.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Sade is slipping her English book into her
schoolbag when her Mama screams. Two sharp
cracks splinter the air.
"Mama mi?" She whispers

Twelve-year-old Sade's journalist father is a vocal critic of the corrupt government in Nigeria. When Sade's mother is murdered, her family sees in bloody detail the violent risks that come with exposing the truth.

Her father arranges for Sade and her younger brother to be smuggled to their uncle in London for safety. On the streets of London, the plans fall apart and they are abandoned, passed from foster home to foster home. They try to contact their uncle but he is missing. Then they learn that their father has escaped to London to find them -- but he will be sent back to Nigeria, unless Sade can find a way to tell the world what happened to her family.

Chosen by young readers as the recipient of England's prestigious Smarties Silver Medal, Beverly Naidoo's The Other Side Of Truth explores the issues of family, exile, and freedom with the same eloquence and stunning realism of her award-winning Journey To Jo'Burg.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. Like Naidoo's best-selling Journey to Jo'burg (1986), this story humanizes contemporary politics through the eyes of a child. On the first page Sade Solaja, 12, sees her mother shot dead outside their home in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1995. The soldiers really wanted to kill Sade's papa, an outspoken journalist. The next day Sade and her younger brother, Femi, 10, must board a plane and flee with false papers and false names to London. The arrangements in England fall through, and the children find themselves alone on the cold streets of the huge unknown city. Eventually, the welfare office finds them a kind foster home, but always there's the chance that Papa will be assassinated before he can join them in England. Meanwhile, Sade must go to school and live with her grief and fear. Part survival adventure, part docudrama, the narrative stays true to Sade's viewpoint, whether she's remembering what she left behind, trying to care for her nearly silent brother, or coping with the bullies at her new school ("Don't need to spell in the bush," they jeer at her, though her English is better than theirs). The school cruelty is almost unbearable to read; so is the heartbreaking reunion with Papa in a London prison ("in a great arc, his arms swept up the children" ). And there's no simple upbeat resolution: Papa is right ("bad men succeed when the rest of us look away"), and yet, because Papa wrote the truth, Mama is dead. Winner of the British Carnegie Medal, this powerful novel brings the news images very close by showing how anyone can become part of those winding lines of refugees. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Twelve-year-old-Sade must flee her native Nigeria with her younger brother-after their mother is killed in a shooting intended for her father-and must learn quickly how to fight for what she holds dear. In a starred review, PW called it a "sophisticated and emotional novel, poignant and accessible." Ages 10-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-With political insight, sensitivity, and passion, Naidoo presents the harrowing story of two Nigerian children caught in the civil strife of their beloved homeland in the mid-1990s. Eighth-grader Sade Solaja and her fifth-grade brother, Femi, are hastily stowed out of Nigeria after their mother is shot and killed by assassins' bullets meant for their outspoken journalist father. The children are abandoned in London and are unable to locate their uncle, a university professor who has been threatened and has gone into hiding. Picked up first by the police and then by immigration authorities, the youngsters remain silent, afraid to reveal their true names and background. They are placed in a foster home where kindness does not relieve their loneliness and alienation. School is a frightening plunge into Western culture, relaxed discipline, ethnic harassment, and peer intimidation. When their father, who has illegally entered the country, contacts them from a detention center, the children are jubilant. However, their excitement is overshadowed by his imprisonment and subsequent hunger strike. Sade enacts a plan to tell "Mr. Seven O'Clock News" her father's story. Public attention and support follow, prompting his release. Tension and hope alternately drive the story as Sade and Femi grapple with an avalanche of decisions, disappointments, and discoveries. Traditions temper Sade's despair as she remembers times at Family House in Ibadan, and her mother's quiet admonition to be true to yourself. Through these compelling characters, Naidoo has captured and revealed the personal anguish and universality of the refugee experience.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.