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Standing Together After Gun Violence

by Ann Hazzard & Marianne Celano & Marietta Collins ; illustrated by Keith Henry Brown

Pub Date: April 27th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-4338-3521-6
Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

A young boy deals with anxiety centered on gun violence in his community.

When Miles’ father sits him and his brother down to inform them that their cousin Keisha—who’s been living with them while she attends college—has been shot and wounded during a concert at the neighborhood park, he starts to panic. Lost in this newfound worry, Miles begins to have trouble focusing in school, and his latest drawings have his teacher worried. Miles’ parents do their best to reassure him that although their neighborhood isn’t always safe, there are plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t move. As Miles’ family begins to move on, Miles is still battling his anxiety. One day, Keisha tells the family about the community efforts her friends are involved with to prevent more gun violence, prompting Miles’ parents to help. After seeing the results of his parents’ efforts at the park, Miles is compelled to inspire others with his unique set of skills. This simply stated story and the note to readers—chock-full of helpful prompts—could be useful to caregivers looking to help children through trauma. Although the majority of characters are Black, and their names are stereotypical, the authors clear up misconceptions by citing the disproportionate circumstances that lead to increases in community violence. Illustrations are reminiscent of newspaper comic strips, with wobbly lined color sketches that young artists would be inclined to replicate. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 40.3% of actual size.)

A suitable guide to start the conversation about gun violence with children.

(Picture book. 6-11)