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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  10,201 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews
One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,201 ratings  ·  1,040 reviews

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I loved this story about modern life. This beginning book is about a kid who wants to play a game with his family, but everyone is so busy talking on phones, watching TV or doing work on a computer. The kid is up in their room playing a video game to not be bored when the lights go out in the big city at night in August, so it’s hot out.

The family collects in the kitchen and it’s hot, so they go up on the roof where, for once the stars shine. I love this page with these beautiful stars shining
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-inner-child, 2013

Fantastic illustrations, and a sweet engaging story with a wonderful message about turning off the devices in this tech'ed out life to simply "be" with each other.

A refreshing, optimistic examination of a New York City blackout far removed from what really happened that one time in 1977.

And don't forget this movie:

Lisa Vegan
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids who might be scared of the dark/blackouts; kids who like playing board games
Recommended to Lisa by: Crystal Marcos
Oh, I just got such a kick out of this book! Funny and sweet and quirky and heartwarming!

The pictures are wonderful, from the cover on. At first I thought the cover and the premise would be my favorite parts of the book, but I quickly warmed up to the entire story.

I did feel sorry for the scared cat and the scared dog each in a single frame. But the stars were heavenly, and the neighborhood camaraderie was heartwarming and fun. And the solution at the end was genius. I suppose this is a bit of
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it

I really enjoyed this story about a family so plugged into technology they don't have time to play with the youngest child... Until a blackout forces everyone in the city to get creative. The resulting imagination and social activity is great. I also love some of the little details in the illustrations like how sympathetic Thomas Edison looks from his portrait looking down at the little girl just before the blackout ;-)
John Rocco's Caldecott Honour winning Blackout presents an entertaining (engagingly, expressively illustrated) way of demomstrating to children that a universal, that a city-wide power outage does not necessarily have to become some huge and inherently problematic, potentially destructive fiasco, and that it can actually be both fun and even a good family and community togetherness tool (if of course the power does manage to come back on quickly, and in good time, something that might have been ...more
Steph Sinclair
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All those with kids
Recommended to Steph by: GoodReads

My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to seeing in children's books because the technique used gives the pictures great depth making them very vivid. One thing I noticed from the start was that the family featured in the story was multi-racial. That was pretty cool. This is yet another must buy for the kids' library.
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
A child wants to play a board game, but everyone in his family is too busy. That is until the lights go out. The family comes together in the blackness of night. They venture up on the roof and see the stars. Other people have come up on the roof and it is a party-type atmosphere. The family goes down stairs to the neighborhood, where they find free ice cream and kids playing in the water from the fire hydrant. When the lights come back on, they family decides to turn them off, light a candle an ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

This picture book opens with a full-page illustration of a little girl looking bored, staring out the window. This nameless little girl, who is the youngest in her family, is lonely because everyone is too busy to play with her. Her sister chats on the phone, her mother taps away on the computer, and her father is busy in the kitchen, stirring a pot on the stove. She decides to keep herself company with a video game, but just as she settles i
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book! This is a very simple story about a blackout in a large and noisy city.
A child wants attention but everyone in his family is too busy. When the power suddenly goes out there is only darkness. All the noise stops and the family comes together to spend time on the roof enjoying the stars and on the neighbourhood street.
This book really makes a point of how wired and noisy our lives are. We need to take time out to enjoy the natural landscape and company of others.
The illus
"If you are a fan of John Rocco’s work, or have yet to become one, Blackout is lovely book to check out, regardless of your age. However, it is one of those picture books to be read to or with someone, because it is all about spending time together. The most tragic image would be the 6-year-old sitting on the couch reading this while their family members are plugged-in elsewhere, too busy or distracted."


"Blackout is done more in the style of a graphic novel in movement and format; even the
On a hot summer night in the city, everyone is "much too busy" to play a board game with a bored little boy. He resigns himself to videogames until...the power goes out! As the family is plunged into darkness and forced to give up their evening of cooking/phoning/computing/videogaming, a new side of the city is seen, one where there are block parties in the sky, free ice cream on the street, and a new view of how to spend an evening at home with your family.

I loved John Rocco's artwork in Moonp
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Blackout is a story about a family in the middle of a blackout in their town; as the book opens, the reader sees that the son of the family wants to spend time with his family and play a board game. However, since everyone is so busy with technology (sister is on the phone, mother is on the computer, and the father is cooking), nobody wants to play with him. When the blackout occurs, the family realizes that it is fun to just do the simple things with the family without worrying about technology ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was a normal summer night in the city. Hot, noisy, with everyone doing their own thing. But then, the lights go out and everything changes: families, neighbors, the whole city comes together. Forced to unplug, people turn to each other, playing board games, and even climbing up to the roof to see nature's natural lights--the stars. When the lights come back on, things go back to normal, but not everyone likes normal.

In the classroom, I would use this as a concept book: things that scare us,
Clare Cannon
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 04-8yrs
A brilliant book! The illustrations are contemporary and fun, so it's a surprise to find such simple but powerful wisdom at the heart of this story.

Everyone is too absorbed in their own things to play a board game with a little girl who's looking for company. But then there's a blackout, and everything buzzing and shining just stops, and it is quiet and dark.

And suddenly people take notice of those around them, their family, neighbours and friends. They eat free ice cream and sing and play the
Jim Erekson
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
Almost fooled me! The book's well-drawn graphic novel style, spare pacing, and enchanting representation of a family in a power outage just about masked the story's attempt to teach us all a lesson. Once more, the fact that I agree with the message doesn't help. I don't think the sermon is in general a genre of literature. And this is the second (or third) book in two weeks to try to tell me to just turn off the lights and enjoy life without gadgets.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This story has beautiful artwork and pages, a diverse cast, a fun storyline, and a heartfelt and worthwhile message to convey. It's almost 5 stars for me, but I tend to reserve that rating for books that give me a deeper emotional experience. I liked the combination of intimate dark spaces and infinite vast sky and city, and the moral of the story was touching; but it was more entertaining than emotionally moving.
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Cute book about a family who is spending a lot of time with their electronic devices and then the power goes out and they spend time as a family and time with neighbors. At the end, they realized they enjoyed their time spent together as a family and they re-enact the blackout to have family time together.

Well illustrated and cute.
Alex  Baugh
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This has always been one of my favorite summertime books and I love sharing it with young readers. Set in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, it's "a normal summer night." It's loud and it's hot and inside one apartment, a family is busy doing their own solitary thing and no one has any inclination to play a game with the young boy in this family of four. So he heads upstairs with his dog and plays a video game. I love the picture of Thomas Edison giving side-eye as the kid plays his solitary gam ...more
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This has a very "comic book" feel to it - even though only a few of the pages are split into panels. Many of the illustrations are full-page or even two-page spreads. But the style of the illustrations and the font of the text contribute to the comic book feel.

I chuckled over many fun details in the illustrations. I especially loved all the shadow puppets on the walls and the cat who often showed up as a giant shadow in the flashlight spotlight. This was a nice choice for a Caldecott Honor this
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I liked this Caldecott Honor Book much better than this year's winner. The illustrations give it the feel of a graphic novel, but the simple sentences make the story easy to read for beginners. A boy (I thought it was a girl until the end of the book) wants one of his family members to play a game with him, but everyone is too busy. However, on this hot summer night the lights go out all over the city, which means his family can't do all the things they'd been doing, things which required electr ...more
Linda Lipko
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Do you remember times gone by when life was not so chaotic? Do you remember a time when your family spent quality time together free of technology and its obsession? This gem of a children's illustrated book and a Caldecott Honor, is wonderfully illustrated and focuses on the importance of being together.

When the power goes out across New York City on a summer night, a family comes together. Playing board games, going to the top of the roof to gaze at stars, and then walking downstairs and inter
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It’s amazing how one event, chance, or occurrence can bring everyone together. This story about finding fun and wonder in the dark will pull readers of all ages right in with big, beautiful, clear, vibrant pictures.

Turn of the lights! You might be surprised by what you find in the dark. :)

Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A young boy who wants to spend time with his family, but everyone is too busy... until a blackout. The bold artwork drew me in. A heartwarming story about the importance of spending time with family.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: okay, so-plain
Beautiful drawings but the story lacked something...
Lauren Paravate
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-1-10
Summary: The story “Blackout” follows a young girl in the busy city experiencing her first blackout. Once all the lights go out and everyone isn’t busy with their everyday lives the family realizes how important it is to take time for each other. They go up to the roof and stare at the stars together and realize that they don’t need power to have time together that is meaningful.

Evaluation: I really liked the storyline of “Blackout” and how important it is to take time away from the Internet and
Teryca Brooks-Long
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Comic Book
Awards: Caldecott Honor Award
Audience: Ages 4-8
One random night, the power in an entire city goes out and now the family the story focuses on is forced to rely on each other for support. It allows them to sit back and really understand the importance of family and spending time together.

A. It fits in the category because the illustrations are made up of as a comic book, where you mostly have to make sense of the story by analyzing the pictures.
B. The emphasi
Ashley Oh
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Genre: Picture Books
Awards: Caldecott Honor Award 2011
Audience: 4-8
Summary: The power in an entire city goes out one night and a family is pushed to rely on each other for the support needed in the blackout. This allows the family to see the importance of family time and not always being so distant with things like the internet.
-This book fits into the specific category because the illustrations make up the comic and the story is based on pictures and not words.
-The color black is very prominent
Lauren Roewe
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book features illustrations that are divided by clearly marked panels and text that is either in speech bubble form or caption form.

The illustrator used dark colors and negative space to emphasize the mood of the text— drab and boring, to dark and uncertain, to fun and adventure.

Because the targeted age is fairly young, this book would be great to have in the classroom to use for a teaching opportunity in the event of an actual blackout, which may cause some uneasiness in young students.

Benjamin Smith
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: class-discussion
What would happen if the lights went out? All of them? This story touches on a very important topic. Where would we be with no electricity. For some, we might see the stars for the first time. For others, we might reconnect with family members. A nice story to get your class talking about the things that matter to them, and whether or not we should become so heavily reliant on power.
Kaleigh Wright
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When a blackout occurs this boy and his family decide to embrace the chaos instead of wallow in it. A party under the stars with all of the neighbors brings us a gentle reminder that when you put your cares aside and make the best out of a seemingly bad situation, a blackout isn’t too bad after all.
This is a wordless book in that there are little words used in the book, instead it is told solely through pictures.
The colors of the book all being dark contribute to the theme of it being a blackout
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Rocco studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is the author of four acclaimed books for children: Wolf! Wolf!, winner of the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book; Moonpowder, part of the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators; Fu Finds the Way, and Blackout, a New York Times Best Book of the Year and winner o ...more

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