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Smoky Night by Eve Bunting

Smoky Night (edition 1999)

by Eve Bunting, David Diaz (Illustrator)

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1,2481326,350 (3.99)9
Title:Smoky Night
Authors:Eve Bunting
Other authors:David Diaz (Illustrator)
Info:Sandpiper (1999), Paperback, 36 pages
Collections:HSU Children's Center, Your library

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Smoky Night by Eve Bunting



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Smoky Night, written by Eve Bunting and brilliantly illustrated by David Diaz, captures one family's plight during the LA riots of 1992. The protagonist David, along with his mother, watch in fear and horror as rioting and looting takes place in their neigborhood. Later, when fire breaks out, they are removed to a shelter--but their cat Jasmine gets lost in the rush to evacuate. All of the neighbors from their area are there, representing many different cultures. Their neighbor Mrs. Kim is also missing her cat. Finally a fireman brings both cats in--cats who had always fought, but were found huddled together. This is the metaphor for the entire neighborhood--living next to each other but not learning or caring about each other until a disaster draws them together as a unified group. ( )
  TomasJ | Jul 20, 2016 |
A clear and important lesson. I hope we can all learn from it. However, I don't know if it truly speaks to inner-city children like the MC, or if suburban/rural children will be able to realize that the lesson applies to them, also. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
The vibrant and mixed media artwork of this story tells the history of a race riot and how a young child tries to make sense of it through his mother's insight. When they take cover one night, they are awoken to a fire, and the young child's cat is missing. It is notable how the mother manages to stay calm during these events. When the cat is finally found, along with another cat, they realize the good in people, and that we should not be clouded by judging others before getting to know them. This relates to the friendship that Mrs. Kim and Gena establish at the end, but also to the actions of the race rioters, whose actions were from political frustration and in no way suggested that they were bad people.
  carrier3 | May 31, 2016 |
Durng a riot, Daniel's apartment building catches on fire and they have to evacuate. During the evacuation process, Daniel's cat goes missing and, despite everyone telling him she got out, he's still very worried. Their neighbor's cat, who Daniel's cat doesn't get along with, also goes missing. After everything settles down, the firefighter finds them huddled together hiding under the stairs. The two cats getting along despite a history of fighting taught the tenants a lesson about looking past cultural backgrounds and getting to know each other. ( )
  NRedler | May 4, 2016 |
Smoky Night tells the story of a young boy named Daniel. One evening, he and his mother watch the violent rioters break into buildings and loot stores including Kim's Market, a stores that Daniel and his mother do not shop at because Mama says it's better to shop at stores belonging to their "own people." During the night, Daniel and his mother are forced to escape their home because it is on fire. They go to a shelter where they see Mrs. Kim. A fire fighter brings in two cats belonging to the two families. Though the cats had always fought, they were holding paws because they were so scared. Daniel comments that they probably didn't like each other because they didn't know each other. His mother introduces herself to Mrs. Kim and the families agree to get together after the riots settle down.

This is a good example of historical fiction because it presents accurate information about what a young child may have experienced during the Los Angeles riots. The child's perspective makes it easier for young readers to relate to. The author describes the violence and dangerous actions without excessive graphic detail. This book is a good text to use for critical literacy because it addresses issues of cultural tension between two groups of people. Students may ask why Mama thinks it is better to buy from their own people or why she seems to have a change of heart at the end of the story.

GENRE: Historical Fiction

- have critical literacy discussion about how some cultures do not interact or how negative events can bring people together
- have students demonstrate their understanding of cause and effect by filling out a graphic organizer
  sso14 | Apr 9, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eve Buntingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diaz, DavidIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0152018840, Paperback)

This is a story about cats -- and people -- who couldn't get along until a smoky and fearful night brings them together.

The Los Angeles riots made author Eve Bunting wonder about what riots meant to the children who live through them -- and what we can all learn from such upheavals. She has written more than 100 books for children and young adults, including Night Tree and Summer Wheels, and many deal thoughtfully with difficult issues.

Smoky Night was the winner of the 1995 Caldecott Medal; an American Library Association Notable Children's Book; a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; and a Parent's Choice Award.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Daniel and his mother look out of their window at the smoky night below. There are looters on the street, fires in the distance. Daniel clutches his cat, Jasmine. But later, when they're forced to leave the apartment building, Jasmine can't be found. Mrs. Kim's cat is missing too. Where are they? They can't be with each other. Those cats don't get along...This story is about cats and people who couldn't get along until a night of rioting brings them together. Winner of Caldecott medal, 1995. When the Los Angeles riots break out in the streets of their neighborhood, a young boy and his mother learn the values of getting along with others no matter what their background or nationality.… (more)

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