Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice

Talking to our children about some of the news events these days can be a challenge.  The authors of this book are offering this story as a door opener for parents.  They encourage families to open up the conversations about difficult topics.  Reading this book aloud as a family would give children a chance to think things through and ask their questions.  The goal is understanding these situations on a more personal level.

In this community a black man has been shot by the police.  At school young children hear about the shooting and begin to have questions.  We follow two students home to their families as we meet Emma, a young white girl, and Josh, an African American boy.

Emma goes home from school and asks her parents questions.  If you look at the illustrations, you'll notice family members attempting to leave the room or disappear into technology.  Someone needs to pay attention to Emma's questions, to listen, and to give her answers.  Emma asks point blank, "Why did they shoot him?

Across town, Josh, who is in Emma's class at school, goes home to his family and asks his questions as well.  "Will the policeman who shot him go to jail?"  How will his parents answer him?

The goal of the book is to encourage discussions in the family.  The authors go to great lengths in the back matter to give families tools for conversation.  Social justice and racism are the focus here.

This is an important book for opening a desperately needed discussion but it feels fairly simplistic. This is a broad brush approach designed to give children a concrete, black and white concept for this deeply important topic.

The back matter is well thought out and offers pages of tools for conversation and understanding.

40 pages           978-1433828546            Ages 8-12

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

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Something Happened in Our Town describes a traumatic event—a police shooting—from the perspective of a White family and an African American family. This story models productive conversations around racial-ethnic socialization and social-emotional learning, and provides an excellent platform for discussing social justice and race relations with children. Includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” with conversation guides, child-friendly vocabulary, and lists of related resources.--from the publisher

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