The Silence of Our Friends

by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell

A graphic novel based on a period in the childhood of coauthor Mark Long tells of... read more

A graphic novel based on a period in the childhood of coauthor Mark Long tells of the friendship between a white TV news reporter (based on Long’s father) and a Black professor at Texas State University during the student demonstrations in Houston in 1967. A white police officer was shot and killed during a demonstration, and five Black students have been charged with his murder. The reporter witnessed the shooting and knows the students are innocent—the officer was accidentally shot by another policeman. But he’s being pressured by his boss at the TV station to remain silent. In a city fiercely divided along racial lines, portions of the story unfold through the eyes of the two men’s children, all of whom are affected by the unease and unrest. The authors acknowledge doing a “balancing act” between fact and fiction in telling the story—many events, including the murder charge and trial—are true and detailed more fully in Mark Long’s note. But the timeline has been adjusted and it would have been helpful to have this clearly delineated. Still, the emotional impact of this tense telling, appropriately illustrated in black-and-white, is powerful. (Age 12 and older)


© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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