I already knew about the death of Emmett Till when I learned that George Floyd was killed. I had a lot of questions for my parents, especially after hearing that many more black people were victims of police brutality like Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Breonna Taylor. Why haven’t people learned that we’re all equal? Why do people think we’re dangerous? Is the man who killed George Floyd going to go to jail?
I had so many questions, so many things swirling around in my head. And I bet many parents were explaining some of the same things to their kids, too.
The book I’m reviewing today is called Something Happened In Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice. It’s a moving and relatable must-read about racism in America. It is written by three psychologists: Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard.
This book follows two kids – one white and one black – who are both impacted when they hear that a black man has been killed by the police who thought he had a gun. Both kids have questions for their parents and siblings. Emma, a white girl, asks her mom why the police shot the man, and soon learns about patterns of mistreatment against black people, and how she can help others be fair.
In a different house, Josh, who is black, asks his parents questions as well. He asks if police can go to jail, which leads his parents to talk about white prejudice, and how to stick up for people.
The next day, when Emma and Josh are thrown into a hard situation, they remember what their parents said, and together they make a change.
I really enjoyed this book, because it told a really interesting story, and one that kids could really understand. Something bad happened in these little kids’ town, and when they learn more about it, they take action in making the world brighter. It was an awesome book that I really enjoyed reading. I also LOVED the illustrations by Jennifer Zivoin. They were very vibrant and enhanced the storyline.
I would recommend this book to both kids and adults. Adults who want to have a conversation with their kids about racial injustice should get this book. And there is a section in the back that may help with how to answer questions, or help to explain a definition of words like discrimination or race in child-friendly language.
Overall, I’d definitely rate this book a four out of four – it’s really, really good!