Book: Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz
Summary: A little boy watches the riots with his mother from their apartment. Later, their own building is on fire and as they are leaving, the boy realizes that his cat is not there. The neighbor Mrs. Kim, who is disliked by the community, is also missing her cat. The community gathers in a shelter to escape the fire and the riots on the streets. The story ends with the two cats being found together and teaching the humans a lesson about getting along.
Reflection: The first thing that attracted me to this book was the illustrations. They were so real and reflected exactly what the author is writing about. Also, I thought it was really interesting that this book is about the L.A. riots, but no where in the book does it mention that. I This book can be helpful when teaching children about tolerance and racial conflicts overall. It also shows that during a time of need, race/ethnicity shouldn't matter because the only way to survive as a community is to work together.
- Students could do a writing activity where they talk about a time that they were scared and how they maybe tried to feel less scared.
- Students could also do a writing activity where they talk about a time they felt courageous and did something they were proud of
- Students could make an art collage in the style of the illustrator using daily objects
- A unit on riots in the U.S. Explore the similarities and differences between these riots. The causes.
- A unit on diversity overall
Social Justice Education:
Self-Love and Acceptance: Students learn about accepting themselves and recognizing they are different from other people.
Respect of Others: Students learn about accepting cultural differences and being tolerant
Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students learn about racism
Social Movements and Social Change: The cats are used as a metaphor for social change and through that, the students learn about how in a troubled time, helping each other is the only solution.
Taking Social Action: Students explore how they can take action against racial prejudices and intolerant behavior.
Where to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0152018840/timstore06-20