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

Written by & illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Published by Magination Press
4.75 / 7.0
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Goodreads Rating - 4.2 / 5.0
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Mar 1, 2018
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What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

A Little Free Library Action Book Club Selection<br /><br /> National Parenting Product Award Winner (NAPPA)<br /><br /><i>Emma and Josh heard that something happened in their town. A Black man was shot by the police.</i><br /><br /><i>”Why did the police shoot that man?”</i><br /><br /><i>”Can police go to jail?”</i><br /><br /><i>Something Happened in Our Town</i> 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.<br /><br /> Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues.<br /><br /> Free, downloadable educator materials (including discussion questions) are available at<br /><br /> From the Note to Parents and Caregivers: <br /><br /><i>There are many benefits of beginning to discuss racial bias and injustice with young children of all races and ethnicities: </i><ul><li><i>Research has shown that children even as young as three years of age notice and comment on differences in skin color.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Humans of all ages tend to ascribe positive qualities to the group that they belong to and negative qualities to other groups.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Despite some parents’ attempts to protect their children from frightening media content, children often become aware of incidents of community violence, including police shootings.</i></li></ul><ul><li><i>Parents who don’t proactively talk about racial issues with their children are inadvertently teaching their children that race is a taboo topic. Parents who want to raise children to accept individuals from diverse cultures need to counter negative attitudes that their children develop from exposure to the negative racial stereotypes that persist in our society.</i></li></ul>

What Kind of Book is Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice

What Should I Know As a Parent

Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.

Violence: The premise of this book is about a Black man who was unfairly shot by the police. This prompts discussions about the event between the parents and children in the story.

Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • What does it mean that there is an unfair pattern of being nice to White people and mean to Black people? How else do we see this unfair pattern around us?

  • How did Josh and Emma use their power to start a new pattern at their school? How might you start new patterns in your family, school, community?

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
4.75 / 7.0

This book is a story of two different families, both having important discussions in their home about racism, equity, and standing up for what’s right. The discussions are prompted from a Black man who is unfairly shot by police—the book mentions that its all over the news and the younger children have heard tidbits mentioned about it from older children, and they have questions. What I really appreciate about this book is the demonstration of talking about such an important matter in the home and proactively talking about how we can stand up for others, accept others, and change the negative patterns in the world.

Book Lists That Include Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice

Book Topics › standing up for others
Children's Books About Standing Up For Others
Book Topics › antiracism
Children's Books About Antiracism
Book Topics › fiction
Children's Books About Fiction
Book Topics › multicultural
Children's Books About Multicultural
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Who Illustrated Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story about Racial Injustice

Jennifer Zivoin

Jennifer Zivoin has always loved art and storytelling, so becoming an illustrator was a natural career path. She has been trained in media ranging from figure drawing to virtual reality, and earned her bachelor of arts degree with highest distinction from the honors division of Indiana University. During her professional career, Jennifer worked as a graphic designer and then as a creative director before finding her artistic niche illustrating children’s books, including <i>Something Happened in Our Town</i>, <i>Did You Hear?</i>, and <i>A World of Pausabilities</i>. She lives in Indiana.Visit her at

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Book Details

Publication Date:
March 1, 2018
Library of Congress Number (LCCN):
Lexile® Level:

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