Smoky Night

by Eve Bunting and David Diaz

A young African-American child describes a night of fear when rioting occurs in his... read more

A young African-American child describes a night of fear when rioting occurs in his city neighborhood. "Rioting can happen when people get angry," his mother explains to him. "They want to smash and destroy. They don't care anymore what's right and what's wrong." In the middle of the night, a fire forces the boy and his mother to flee their apartment building and take refuge in a shelter, where African-American, Korean-American and Latino neighbors, some of whom are strangers to one another, have gathered in the confusion. Tensions between African-American and Korean-American residents of the neighborhood are specifically addressed. The child's anxiety is soothed but not extinguished by his mother's deliberate calm for the sake of her child, and these are the most powerful elements of the text. David Diaz' explosive artwork is a powerful complement - he sets his intense paintings against a multi-media backdrop that is suggested by elements of the text and created with items culled from everyday life. (Ages 6-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1994

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