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

We rated this book:


This picture book shows two families’ reactions to a police officer shooting an innocent black man. This is a difficult subject, and I think this book handles it well. The language is age-appropriate and gentle. The illustrations are beautiful, and the message is positive: kids can start a “better pattern” by including kids who are different than themselves.

The story begins with a white family’s reaction to the tragedy. Emma asks her parents to explain what happened. Her family discusses slavery, inequality, and prejudice. They encourage Emma to include all kids, so she doesn’t miss out.

Josh is African American. He talks with his family about the same incident. They discuss racial profiling, inequality, and civil rights leaders. His family encourages Josh to stand up for kids and change things.

Then a new boy comes to their school. Classmates want to leave him out of a soccer game, but Josh and Emma remember their conversations with their parents and befriend the new child.

There are lots of resources in the back of the book to help adults discuss racism with children: child-friendly definitions, sample questions and answers, and general guidelines.

I was very impressed with this book. I hope it gets a wide audience and starts a lot of conversations.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.

Reviewed By:

Author Marianne Celano • Marietta Collins • Ann Hazzard • Jennifer Zivoin, Illustrator
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 32 pages
Publisher Magination Press
Publish Date 2018-Apr-04
ISBN 9781433828546
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category Children's


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