Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guest Blog--More Caldecott

Smoky Night, by Eve Bunting and David Diaz, was the second Caldecott winner I read to my daughters. The book and the subsequent questions were eye-opening.

Smoky Night recounts the events of a riot from the perspective of a young boy. The boy tells about his fears, his family's removal to a shelter when their apartment building is set on fire, and finally how the events helped the neighborhood overcome some racial prejudices.

The topic was far heavier than I expected from a children's book. The looting and burning in the book provoked many questions from my six-year-old: "Why are they stealing things?" "Could that happen to us?" The fact that they did an earthquake drill in her class that day didn't help matters. "What if there was an earthquake?" "What would we do?"

I admit that I found myself a bit unprepared for such deep questions. I still need to do more research so that I can explain the issues better to my daughter.

However, despite the awkwardness of our reading Smoky Night, I feel the book provoked good questions and taught good lessons.

Oh, and the artwork is fascinating. The text is backed by real-life objects relating to each part of the story. It's worthwhile to pick up the book just to see it.


Blogger said...

How did you answer her questions? Did you tell her it could happen? Also, why do I know Eve Bunting? I've perused her books on Amazon, but I can't remember what it is I read by her.

Wanna-Be Lit said...

Eve Bunting wrote all of those teen ghost novels. However, she's also written quite a few children's books, as I've recently discovered.

Yes, I told Madeleine riots could happen, but I told her they usually wouldn't happen where we live. However, I was honest that earthquakes could (and have) happened. Now she wants to know more about plate tectonics.

Wanna-Be Lit said...

Ghost Behind Me by Eve Bunting.

Blogger said...

Okay, I thought she wrote scary books. But when I looked her up, all I saw were picture books. She is very prolific.

Chris said...

I'm so glad they still do earthquake drills in school. I remember the good old days of getting under my desk and touching all the dust balls under the legs of the desks. Good times for all.

Blogger said...

I'm not sure I was even able to fit under my desk.

Wanna-Be Lit said...

Chris and Blogger are hilarious. Yes, they still do drills. Madeleine also had a drill about what to do if a "bad man" with a gun enters the school. Scary.