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Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice
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Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  922 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children's questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for dis
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Magination Press
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Chris You're paraphrasing a quote from one particular character in the book, a child, who represents people who truly feel this way. His parents later expla…moreYou're paraphrasing a quote from one particular character in the book, a child, who represents people who truly feel this way. His parents later explain to him that this isn't completely true and that there are good cops and bad cops. Yes, this is definitely a conversation we should be having with our children.(less)
Moon Petrie This book is about 1/4 a story for children and 3/4 a guide for parents and caregivers who are navigating these questions with kids. It is a quick rea…moreThis book is about 1/4 a story for children and 3/4 a guide for parents and caregivers who are navigating these questions with kids. It is a quick read, so I strongly suggest you read it yourself to see whether you want to share the story with the children you work with and/or whether some of the information and ideas for adults would be helpful for you. I think on the whole it was pretty neutral, focusing on defining vocabulary like race, stereotype, and discrimination, and encouraging children to treat others fairly.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  922 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Start your review of Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents, teachers, migrant communities
“Something bad happened in our town.
The news was on the TV, the radio, and the internet
the grown-ups didn’t think the kids knew about it.
But the kids in Ms. Garcia’s class heard some older kids
talking about it, and they had questions.”

Of course they had questions. I remember asking plenty of awkward questions when I was little. There are several different situations mentioned and different illustration styles.

The first is about a black man who was shot by a police officer. In a white family,
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Two kids, black Josh and white Emily question why a black man was shot by the police. The white family said it was a mistake, but the big sister said it was because he was black. Then they discussed the roles of blacks, whites, slavery, and breaking patterns. The black family said it was wrong when their son inquired if the police can go to jail. The big brother interjected that the policeman would not, because police unite against blacks. They discussed the unfairness of how blacks are treated ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Too didactic, but there’s a lot of great resources in the back matter.
Vannessa Anderson
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth-children
Young children learn the hard way how police murder unarmed American Descendants of Freed Slaves for sport.

Emma, a young white girl learns she is white. Emma tells her mother how there are white people who believe they are better than American Descendants of Freed Slaves and believe they are dangerous when they are not.

Josh, an American Descendant of Freed Slaves asked his mother if police can go to jail for murdering someone who has done nothing wrong.

Something Happened In Our Town did an e
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bildebøker
Read some reviews from 2018 saying that "it is relevant to what happened today" and here we are in 2020, nothing the same, still the same.
Don't know what to say than, gosh it is so heartbreaking. An important book that parents need to read to their kids to teach them about racial injustice. I could not recommend this enough.
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Accessible language and examples for children. This book will inspire kids to make their schools and worlds a better place! I also loved the pictures, with important historical figures in the background.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This much needed children's book provides insightful historical and present day context regarding racial injustice in a manner that promotes compassion and willingness to work on these issues! ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
If kids can understand it, we can too. Let's all learn to be anti-racist together because BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Another offering from Audible's "Hear My Story" selection. This is very pertinent given recent events with some good messages about acceptance and confronting stereotypes of all types. Race issues are not a taboo or forbidden topic and we should talk about it. Also, if everyone was a lot nicer to each other, the world would be a better place.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Unfortunately, this is a much needed book in our world right now. It tries to explain to children about the shooting of an unarmed black man. The parents of a white child and of a black child each explain to their children about the history of racism, slavery and how people are unfairly treated based upont he colour of their skin or their names. In one family a teenage brother also shared his ideas, which show us that there is much work to be done. The idea is to try and teach them to change thi ...more
Aliza Werner
Such a timely and important topic, but this story was so heavy handed and drowning in dialogue. Something I can’t get out of my mind is the way the white mother and black mother responded to each of their children’s questions about a police shooting. White mom: “It was a mistake.” Black mom: “What he did was wrong.” Now the white Mom goes on to give an education on racism, so I was surprised that she characterized the shooting as a “mistake”. I wouldn’t have expected her to be so lenient in her ...more
Heydi Smith
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-one-on-one
I agree that this book is needed, though I’m sad that it is. I agree that teaching children about this topic can change their life responses.

I don’t agree with the way this book presents it. I do like the illustrations a lot!

Prejudice and racism is not limited to one race of people. All imperfect people have to fight to make a change happen. Blaming one race of people for racism is also racism. That’s not the change you’re trying to create, is it?

Racism of any race is wrong! We all have to figh
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent in identifying and discussing racial injustice with kids. The back matter that provides helpful conversation starters and answers questions kids of both color and non-color may have about injustice and their own identity was so expertly thought out and presented.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A police officer shot and killed a black man. The members of white family discuss together what happened; the members of a black family discuss together what happened. Ideas are shared in the families about how to take action to make things better in the future. When an unjust situation arises at school, the children from the families are able to take action and make things better. The back of the book has an extensive note to parents and caregivers, offering information and ideas for talking to ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalleyarc
This is a timely book aimed at children between 4 and 8 years of age. Immediately we learn of a police officer who has shot and killed a black man, wrongly suspecting that the victim was holding a weapon.

A young white girl comes home from school, having picked up some of the shooting details, and she processes the news with her parents. They share some of the history of discrimination and prejudice that people of color have faced in our country as well as demonstrating empathy and natural next
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all parents and teachers in the USA
Shelves: arc, children-s-books
Do you have kids aged 4-8, or even older? If you do, you need this book.
This is a book parents require, to explain the racial violence and injustice that is so frequently seen on social media or even in the neighborhood.

The story starts with a police shooting where an unarmed black man is killed. Two children ask their families why it happened: the girl is white, the boy is black. So we get two different points of view and distinct emotions. But they both share the feeling of injustice.

The histo
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Equally good for both children and parents.

For parents:

In addition to the book itself providing a great tool for parents for starting a conversation with children the back of the book has information geared toward parents preparing for the inevitable conversation that will result from reading the book to their offspring. These resources include:

• Benefits of having this type of conversation with children.
• Suggestions/guidelines for having the conversation.
• Child friendly vocabulary and definit
Jodi Geever
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m giving this book 2 stars because it includes further resources.

Other than that feature, I was VERY DISAPPOINTED with this book. It reads much more like a textbook—and one for aspiring child psychologists rather than children themselves. Websites are read out, to “slash dot aspx” and the “story” which acts as the catalyst for the subsequent discussion occupies only a small fraction of the text. Don’t waste your time, don’t bore your kids, don’t read this book.

Start instead with the book I am
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warning! If you are a white snowflake who uses the hashtag #AllLivesMatter or if you ignore the systemic racism in our society, you will probably be triggered by this book.

This book doesn’t pull any punches - especially for a children’s book! Recommended reading. We need a fair and just society, and we won’t have it unless we’re all fighting for it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Magination Press for a copy in return for an honest review.
Briana McMurry
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My daughter and I both loved this book. It is informative and addresses social/racism issues in a way that kids can easily understand. I think it is important to talk to your kids about how people of color are treated differently and this book is a great way to start the conversation. The guide at the end is extremely helpful when addressing some of your children’s questions. Highly recommend. Every parent should be reading books like this to their children.
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gregory
The authors did a fantastic job putting some very hard topics into language that kids will understand. My son is still a little young for this book (I believe the recommended age range is 4-8) but I'm glad to have a copy of this for when he's developmentally ready to understand. It covers the topics of race, slavery, police violence, and prejudice all in a succinct and clear way. ...more
Marie Celano
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a timely compelling children’s book. It gives an inside look at conversations from different generations and ethnic backgrounds around the topic of racial injustice. I especially thought the teenagers’ perspective were spot on. Great tool for having discussions with children around the topic of racial inequality.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Prejudice, racism and fairness requests
Recommended to June by:
Unfortunately, a needed book. Tries to make a police shooting of a black man understandable to children, with parents (one white and one black) explaining the history of racism - slavery and fear and how they might change the unfair pattern of how people are treated. I did like that the new child they both stick up for is named Omad.

Just, no.
Sarah Krajewski
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*
The best part of this book was the section in the back with additional resources. I loved the premise, but it’s a better teaching tool than story.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great starting point for discussing racial inequity and systemic racism with your school age children, but unfortunately a little long and relies a bit too much on classroom knowledge for the preschool crowd.

I watched a story time reading of the book, so I'm still waiting to get my hands on a physical copy so I can see some the parent and teacher resources in the back.

I don't really have much to add to the many positive reviews extolling the strengths of this books. But, and mostly because I'm
Sydney Rames
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a perfect way to aid in showing the injustice groups of people face in the world today. I love the phrasing and the illustrations, I believe this is a book that can be shown to all ages to explain the topic. Overall a great book to use to teach that racial discrimination exists and needs to be combatted against.
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a sweet, very preliminary look at systemic racism for kids. I liked that the book drives home the notion of standing up for one another and being friends despite differences. Obviously parents can choose how much more they get in depth with their child, but for the 4-8 year old range this book is intended for, I think this is a good start.
Book Buying With Katie
Outstanding. Definitely the best book for kids I've read on the subject. Should be read to every class at my school this coming year, especially since Sean Reed was killed less than a mile from my building. ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredibly important children’s book... not only for kids, but especially for parents. I strongly believe that children should not be sheltered from difficult topics - instead, they should develop empathy and understanding from a young age. I highly recommend this one.
Jillian Reynolds (Jillian Loves Books)
Only giving this a low rating because it didn't read like a book for children. It felt like a cold textbook more than anything. I'm understanding of the message and its necessity to our children, but the delivery seemed lackluster to me. ...more
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2019 Roe Reading ...: Something Happened in Our Town 2 3 Aug 26, 2020 03:23AM  

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