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 discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues. Ages 4–8.
About the Authors
Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, worked together for more than two decades as Emory University School of Medicine faculty members serving children and families in Atlanta. All three psychologists have been involved in community advocacy efforts focused on children’s behavioral health and social justice. Dr. Celano and Dr. Hazzard have developed and utilized therapeutic stories in individual and group therapy with children and teens. All three authors valued story-time with their children, who taught them important lessons about what children need from adults. This is their first picture book for children.
Read Aloud Tips
- Set the tone for classroom by discussing terms, such as social justice, prejudice and racism. Use language walls to explain vocabulary used in the text.
- Throughout the reading, ask students to explain how they are feeling. Afterwards, have the students reflect in a journal or small group about what the book made them feel.
- Use the book’s story to relate to current events.
“Provides an unflinching look at how families can and should talk about racism…Explores the roots of racism in America, the importance of actively fighting for social justice, and how kids can respond to the prejudice and exclusion that creeps into their classrooms… Whatever this discussion looks like in your household, it’s just a first step. ” – Mashable