Light It Up

by Kekla Magoon

A white police officer has just shot and killed 13-year-old Shae Tatum, an unarmed... read more

A white police officer has just shot and killed 13-year-old Shae Tatum, an unarmed African American girl. Over the next few weeks, the aftermath of this tragedy is chronicled through a variety of perspectives, including Shae’s best friends, Tina (younger sister of Tariq, murder victim in Magoon’s earlier How It Went Down ) and Sheila; community activists Kimberly and Zeke; gang leader Brick, Sheila’s protective big brother; Tyrell—Tariq’s best friend, now away at college and trying to keep it all at a distance; DeVante—another Black student in Tyrell’s dorm; Robb—DeVante’s white suite mate, who thinks he’s woke; Steve Conner, a Black man assigned the case when the police hire his PR firm; the young daughter of the white officer; and others. Among the many compelling elements of this narrative are discussions in the news of events taking place in the neighborhood in the aftermath of the shooting, offering keen insights into how media coverage often frames the activism and outcry of Black communities in response to racism and police violence as “rioting” and “violent,” as well as how activists must navigate myriad concerns in an effort to keep people safe. These and other compelling issues are examined through the lives of individual characters trying to make sense of what’s happening, and facing personal decisions about whether, and how, they will respond. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

show less