Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice, written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin, is the first title for Grades 3–5 in the Interactive Read-Aloud Diversity Collection, our series of carefully curated trade books selected to represent and support diverse classrooms.
This compelling story, written about racial injustice, is told by both a white family and a black family as they each discuss a police shooting in their town. As the two families talk about racial injustice, it causes the reader to pause, think, and reflect on the important message of acceptance, empowerment, and positive community support. The lesson’s comprehension focus calls for readers to Stop-Think-Paraphrase (STP). Much of this powerful story and the mood it evokes is told through the illustrations. Through teacher modeling of STP and a gradual release of this strategy to students, important discussions are sparked and conversations about racial injustice ensue. The lesson includes a writing opportunity where students are asked to think about racial injustices, both past and present, that are demonstrated in the story and how these two children worked together to promote a pattern of change.
The lesson’s SEL connection is acceptance. The message from both families to their children focuses on how they can work together to make a change in their school community.
Download lesson plan for this book.