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Smoky Night

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  6,891 ratings  ·  767 reviews
Eve Bunting’s heartfelt story and David Diaz’s dramatic illustrations create a compelling child’s-eye view of urban violence. A young boy and his mother are forced to flee their apartment during a night of rioting in Los Angeles. Fires and looting force neighbors—who have always avoided one another—to come together in the face of danger and concern for their missing pets. ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published March 31st 1994)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,891 ratings  ·  767 reviews

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This is Eve Bunting. I appreciate her work. This was an intense story. My niece is scared of fire and this is about a riot and the building catches fire and the people have to leave. This story, which I didn’t pay attention to what it would be about, terrified my niece. We only read this story and she got very upset after. I should have seen how quiet she got and then she asked question after question and she wouldn’t sleep. It is a fairly intense story. I don’t recommend it for sensitive childr ...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Timely and focused upon issues that transcend geographical location.
While I do find Eve Bunting's Smoky Night an impressive, very much evocative, thought-provoking (and also important) picture book experiment, and really, truly much appreciate that she has managed to pen a narrative about a potentially touchy if not even objectionable topic (race rioting, racial tensions) that is neither openly inflammatory nor overly depressing and tragic (but simply, basically matter of fact), I really do not all that much care for David Diaz' accompanying collage like illustr ...more
Jaeleen Parisi
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Smoky Night written by Eve Bunting, is a children's book about a boy named Daniel and his mother watching rioting and looting in the streets below them. Daniel and his mother then both go to bed assuming the riots are over, but they quickly learn that their building is then on fire and have to quickly evacuate. However, Daniel is hesitant to leave because he can not find his cat. The search for Daniel's cat continues throughout the whole story and Daniel's cat and his neighbors cat are finally r ...more
Smoky Night has a very clear message: if we take time to know other people, no matter how different they might seem from us, we might make new friends. But despite its overt didacticism, Eve Bunting's story is engaging and moving and her prose flows effortlessly.

When it comes to illustrations in Smoky Night, I am not a huge fan of David Diaz's drawing style and his staged composition (no matter what they are doing, the characters are always facing the reader, as if posing for a photograph). Howe
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robyn Simmons
Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Robyn by: primary readers
A young boy tells the story of living in during the Los Angeles Riots. Together, mother and son learn the values and beliefs of other cultures in order to create unity in their community.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Smoky Night is about a young boy named Daniel and his night living through street riots. He watches out the window as people steal TVs, shoes, clothes, and food. He is woken up in the middle of the night to realize their apartment building is on fire and his cat, Jasmine, is missing. This story starts out simply being a boy and his cat. By the end of the story, the cat is the focal point, sending the reader the theme of the story. After finishing, I found myself pondering how I would have felt i ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a sweet children’s book that tells the story of the fear of a young boy who is observing riots in his street, and how an unfortunate event can bring neighbors together and create new friendships.
Kristine Hansen
This isn't an easy book to read as an adult because I grasp what it means, probably moreso than a child would. On the other hand, this book gently explains what a riot looks like even if the cause might be a little unclear.

Being a child while the world around you has gone violent and crazy is unimaginable. I hate that this book is still relevant. I hate that it's still needed. That said, it explains what it needs to. The illustrations capture the emotions even as the words capture the events aro
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bunting does a nice job of presenting "scary" situations (a riot, theft, fire, missing pet) in a manner that is approachable and understandable for young readers. Children experience "scary" things all too often but we do not always consider their viewpoint or openly discuss how they feel...this book helps to address this void.
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book tackles a very difficult subject, rioting. It's a good book if you want to talk about rioting. There was a part I left out where the child thinks he sees a dead body.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories That Address Community Violence, Prejudice & Racism
A young boy and his mother are caught up in the chaos and fear of an inner-city riot in this moving picture-book from author Eve Bunting and illustrator David Diaz. Watching from their apartment window, they see rioters smashing windows and looting stores. In a moment of clarity, Daniel observes that the rioters seem to be filled with both anger and happiness. Later that night, when their apartment building is set on fire, Daniel and his mother are forced to evacuate to a local shelter, leaving ...more
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz is a picturebook look at the 1992 Los Angeles riots from a child's perspective. Among the difficult issues Bunting tackles are racism, rioting, loss of a home, prejudice, discrimination, and the loss of loved ones. This is a story about cats, and people, who couldn't get along until a smoky and fearful night brings them together.

Daniel sees the rioting in the streets of his neighborhood, where people burn buildings and loot stores. By the en
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Smoky Night is a story about a young boy named Daniel that is witnessing the devastation and destruction of riots in the streets below his apartment. While watching this all take place, Daniel's mother mentions, "when people get angry...they don't care anymore what's right and what's wrong". I found this to be an important concept and one that I continued to think about as I read the book and because this very basic concept can be applied to various parts of someone's life when people try to def ...more
Aly Gutierrez
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
• Book summary
-This is a moving story about a family overseeing riots happening outside their home. They stand and watch as the people destroy their street. The mother of the family explains to the children why and how riots occur. They all lay together and fall asleep for the night, until they woke up to smoke. Their apartments were on fire and they were forced to go stay at a refugee center. The son was searching for his cat and eventually a fireman arrived with two cats. The son and the owner
Liz Exo
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This story takes us to a night of rioting in a city (the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, as it is clarified in the author's note in the back), where young Daniel, his mother, and his cat Jasmine are watching from their window. Although they family thought they were safe, in the middle of the night the riots come closer and closer! The family and the rest of the apartment building must leave! Once at a safe shelter, Daniel realizes his cat is missing! Mrs. Kim's (their neighbor) cat is also missing. What ...more
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night (1994).
Daniel and his mother are keeping the lights off and being as quiet as possible as they watch rioting in the streets from their apartment window. When a fire breaks out in their building, though, they have to exit quickly and leave behind their missing cat. Their neighbor, Mrs. Kim, is missing her cat as well. Although the two families have never talked (you stick to your "own people") differences are put aside once they realize how much they truly share in comm
Ms. McCall
In Smoky Night, our protagonist witnesses riots throughout his neighborhood and must relocate with his mother to a shelter after their apartment building catches fire. In the end, the narrator’s cat’s friendship with the Asian market owner’s cat provides the starting point to a friendship between different races of people who did not trust one another beforehand. The layout of each page is rich with collage work, acrylic and water colored illustrations of dark blues and greens, while getting li ...more
Awards Won: Caldecott Medal (1995), American Library Assocation (ALA) Notable Book
Age Level: 4-8

Smoky Night is a very thought provoking book that depicts many difficult issues. There are many hardships discusssed throughout the book including racisim, rioting, loss of a home, and the loss of loved ones. Though the story has a happy ending, I would not recommend the book for students under the age of 8. The illustrations are very unique watercolor pictures that give the reader a sense of being in
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
The visual elements of "Smoky Night" are a feast for the senses. Eve Bunting's tactile collages incorporating materials mentioned in the descriptions of the riots (cardboard and bubble wrap from appliance boxes, cereal from the grocery store, hangers and plastic bags from the dry cleaners) add a sense of reality and immediacy. The illustrations of people remind me of stained glass with the use of heavy black lines outlining the figures and some parts bright, others shadowed as if light were filt ...more
Jessica Hanley
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I had never heard of this book, but it caught my eye at the library. It tells the story of Daniel, a young boy living in the middle of the Los Angles riots. This very adult issue is told through the eyes of a child. The cover features an abstract-like picture of Daniel holding a cat, imposed over what appears to be gravel. The illustations throughout the story mirror this format. All of the illustrations are abstract like and only use deep, bright colors and scenes. Depending on the action of th ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Absolutely horrible book. It was the winner of the Caldecott Medal and my kids picked it off the display shelf, so I said sure. Turns out to be about a child who experienced the violence of inner-city rioting. Windows being smashed, apartments being burned down . . . My kids were getting scared. I understand these things happen and people should be aware, but I'm thinking a kid young enough to want a picture book with few words is too young to be exposed to this kind of ugliness if they don't ha ...more
Ruth Lyons
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This story is about a boy named Daniel and the events of the night a riot happened on his street. This book would be good for first or second graders as a read on your own book. The words are easy to read and are in a style that is easy to recognize letters.

The illustrations are both a painting on the opposite side of the text and a collage around the text, both depicting what is going on in the text. The style of the painting reminds me of some of Picasso paintings.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this short picture book to be a fascinating teaching tool for children. I grew up in Southern California during the Rodney King Riots and would have been able to understand a little more about events with a book like this. I also want to note that the pictures are like nothing I have ever seen before. I like the photograph quality on the left hand side of each page.
Erika Bowen
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Book Summary in your own words
Smoky Night is about a group of people who live in the same building. They could not get along, not even their cats. But then a riot does the strangest thing—brings them together under one roof again at a shelter. And their cats get along as well.
2. Grade level, interest level, lexile
Grades: PreK-3
3. Appropriate classroom use (subject area)
Culture and Diversity, Life Experiences, Communities
4. Individual students who might benefit from reading
Students who may hav
Book Concierge
Watching news coverage of the Los Angeles riots, Eve Bunting wondered how children perceive such events, especially those who actually live through them. In this picture book she focuses on Daniel and his mother, as well as his cat, Jasmine. His mother explains calmly that these people are angry and doing wrong things, like stealing and breaking windows, but tries to reassure him that he is safe inside. Still when a fire breaks out they must flee, and Daniel is worried about Jasmine.

I like that
Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
April Helms
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Tells about the Los Angeles riots in a simple version that children can understand and appreciate. Daniel witnesses the rioting in the streets of his neighborhood, where people are burning buildings and looting stores. By the end of the night, Daniel and his mother must flee and head to a shelter, where he learns to confront his own prejudices and mends some fences with Mrs. Kim, a neighboring business lady. My one complaint is that there is a scene where Daniel’s cat Jasmine is returned to him ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1995 Caldecott Medal - Favorite Illustration: I like the final illustration where Daniel and his mom and Mrs. Kim are holding their two cats. I especially like the way the illustrator uses many different types of fabric/paper/etc. in the background to represent the coming together of different cultures and people.
This story is not one I would read with small children as a bedtime story, but it is an important book nonetheless. Sadly, it continues to apply today and shows the fear and loss that c
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Rams Readers Summ...: Smoky Night 6 10 Jun 08, 2018 08:21PM  
Rams Readers Summ...: Smoky Night by Eve Bunting 3 6 Jun 08, 2018 08:16PM  
Rams Readers Summ...: Smoky Night 3 6 Jun 06, 2018 10:25AM  
Rams Readers Summ...: Smoky Night 2 5 Jun 04, 2018 04:51PM  
Rams Readers Summ...: Literature Reflection 1 4 Jun 04, 2018 03:50PM  
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting 1 2 Jun 04, 2018 02:54PM  
Rams Readers Summ...: Response 2 1 7 Jun 04, 2018 01:40PM  

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Also known as Evelyn Bolton and A.E. Bunting.

Anne Evelyn Bunting, better known as Eve Bunting, is an author with more than 250 books. Her books are diverse in age groups, from picture books to chapter books, and topic, ranging from Thanksgiving to riots in Los Angeles. Eve Bunting has won several awards for her works.

Bunting went to school in Ireland and grew up with storytelling. In Ireland, “The