Smoky Night

Smoky Night

Paperback(First Edition)

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In this Caldecott Medal-winning modern classic, a young boy and his mother are forced to leave their apartment for the safety of a shelter during a night of rioting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152018849
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/01/1999
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 251,977
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.12(d)
Lexile: 530L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 9 Years

About the Author

Eve Bunting has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz, The Wall, Fly Away Home, and Train to Somewhere. She lives in Southern California.

David Diaz has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, which received a Newbery Honor; and Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, a Pura Belpré Honor Award winner. An illustrator and graphic designer for more than twenty-five years, he is also a painter and an accomplished ceramic artist. Mr. Diaz lives in Carlsbad, California.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Monumental.”—The New York Times Book Review
"Visually exciting.”—Publishers Weekly
"A memorable, thought-provoking book.”—The Horn Book
"Outstandingly excellent vehicle for discussion.”—Kirkus Reviews
"[A] powerful story.”—School Library Journal
"A remarkable book.”—The Hungry Mind Review
"Bunting takes a serious subject...and makes it understandable for children.”—Instructor

Customer Reviews

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Smoky Night 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
queenoftheshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On a regular night, in this urban setting, Daniel and his mother watch as chaos breaks loose. They are safe at first, within the confines of their upper floor apartment, but soon a fire breaks out and they are forced to work together with their neighbors to get to safety. The true joy of this story lies in the Caldecott award winning illustrations, which are a combination of collage and acrylics. The collage is a fascinating medium, bringing a realistic background for the abstract acrylics. Descriptions of broken glass are highlighted with actual glass behind them, talk of cereal being stolen lies on a background of spilled cereal pieces, and other details that highlight parts of the story. The acrylic paintings have a matte and dark palette, with hints of bright orange and yellow. The story itself is surprisingly low-key, even if the topic is fairly heavy. Children aged 5-8 should read this with their parents, who can explain the images and themes.
tlelm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, but a scary book. It is about a family who lives in the middle of a rioting city. The riots are getting worse and worse when the family's house catches fire. Luckily the family gets out and a so does one of the neighbor's cats. The end of the story is good however, when everybody starts to get along.
mj113469 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a mother, her son, and their cat and rioting and looting that is going on in their nationhood. Their apartment building catches on fire and they have to go sleep in a shelter. The boy is sad because he thought that their cat was in the fire but he wasn¿t.This was a terrible book in my opinion. I didn¿t not enjoy this book at all. This book had acceptable pictures but they were nothing great. The book had a repetitive sense too it. The repeating worry of the cat was annoying and deterred me from reading. If I had to use this book as a requirement, I would use it in a lesson about fires or I would use it in a lesson about different parts of the world.
dangerlibearian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gorgeous illustrations, about a race riot and overcoming racial differences.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Daniel and his mother, and his cat Jasmine, watch the destruction caused by a riot from the darkened refuge of their apartment. They hope to escape unnoticed, but in the night someone sets fire to their neighborhood, and they and all their neighbors are forced to flee. Yet in the shelter they come together and begin to know each other better than before, facing their own feelings of prejudice and discarding such destructive forces. Smoky Night is one of those picture books that always make me cry. The story deals with the difficult subject of hatred and rage and intolerance, yet in a subtle and evocative manner. Bunting first sets the stage with the broader picture of an out of control riot, as seen through the fearful eyes of a young boy. The author then narrows in on the personal prejudices that each person carries, the feelings that are at the center of dangerous riots; though they may seem petty, when built upon with mob anxiety and societal pressure, these emotions of ignorance and prejudice can explode with destructive force. The amazing art work by Diaz provides a perfect counterpart to the story. Vibrant yet dark acrylics match the mood. Mixed media backgrounds accompany the illustrations, along with photo collages, and help to impart the themes of fracture and disconnection. Author and illustrator move us from these dark places to hope, as the calming words of Daniel's mother work against the earlier tensions of the book. She reminds us that these people have lost themselves, and that we must keep compassion for them even as we keep ourselves removed from their hate and anger. Bunting reminds us all that we have biases within us, and we must seek these out and destroy them before they lead to disaster. The story ends on the positive note that this is possible for everyone, no matter how late, and the final pictures are of the apartment inmates bonding together and symbolically cuddling with their cats.
jmc_cndk8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another superb picture book addition to my Caldecott collection. It features strong collages superimposed with linocut-like impasto painting about the unfolding Los Angeles riot and the value of getting along regardless of ethnicity and background. *1/12/11
sylvatica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A child¿s recollections of the LA riots are told in fabulous illustrations. Each page¿s background is made up of a collage of objects that could be found in that scene, plus a beautiful painting. It is hard to imagine under what circumstances you would own this book ¿ unless, of course, you and your child had lived through a riot or war and needed to tell that story. For older children, it could be a lead-in to a discussion of violence, perhaps when such events were being shown on TV or in the news. A beautiful book; a heartbreaking subject. (pannarrens)
TirzahB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:This book is about a boy named Daniel and his mother. Their neighborhood is rioted by angry citizens in the night. Daniel is afraid and so is his mother . they sit by the window watching the angry people with their lights off, Daniel is so afraid her holds his cat very close to him. While Daniel is sleeping his mother wakes him up because some one has set their apartment on fire, the have to get out quick but Daniel don't want to leave because he wants to find his cat, then they go to a shelter and everyone is sad. Daniel sees a lady that he knows from around his neighborhood who is not a friendly person and he feels bad for he because she has lost her cat too. Later a fire fighter come in in the shelter with the two cats and the angry lady and Daniels mother become closer because of this.Personal reaction: I didn't like this book very much because it was very sad and Daniel was so afraid of what was going on round him and he didnt understand why .Classroom extension: 1. I can talk to the children about a time they had when something bad happened to them and in the end good came out of it . 2. I can have the children tell me how they felt about about the book and what happened to Daniel and have them tell me what they would do if it had happened to them.
elpowers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting illustrations, and a story that many children don't know, but should.
slriley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This picture book captures the essence of multicultural literature. In it, a fire started by rioters in a neighborhood bring families of different backgrounds together to cope with the smoky night. The illustrations are phenomenal- each page seems to have its own texture created by layered materials. On top of the texture is an illustration of the scene that is taking place on that page. There is so much to look at and take in on each page that people of all ages will be attentive to this story.
TeresaWoolvett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eve Bunting creates a heartwarming story of a child¿s perspective on the LA riots in Smoky Night. The language is simple and straightforward but book contains a very profound message. The illustrations are bold and include photos of real items as the background. The story raises honest questions about relationships between people of different races in our society. This book could easily be used in a high school setting to begin a discussion on the history of race relations in the United States. It could also be used as a starting point to research the working of Dr. Martin Luther King and examine how far America has come since his famous I Have a Dream speech and how much work still needs to be done.
elle0467 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to help children recognize diversity, conflict and resolution. The beginning of this book showing pictures of a young boy and his mother witnessing a riot. Later there is a fire and he misplaces his cat. Later he finds his cat with his neighbor's cat(who his mother has issues with) in the arms of a fire fighter. In the end, everyone is happy that they are alive along with their cats.
Orpgirl1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A note of caution: this is an intense and emotional book. It's also amazingly poignant and beautifully created and a welcome addition to any library. But, with the subject material being the LA riots as seen through a small boy's eyes, parents should be aware of and involved in the reading process of Smoky Night. David Diaz does a masterful job of creating two dimensional collages on each page of this book, juxtaposing chalk drawings of the main characters with layered effects of paper, candy, cardboard, and many other mediums. The story focuses on a small boy named Daniel who is seeing rioters in his neighborhood and is displaced from his home due to the fires that occur later. When both Daniel's cat and the cat of a local Asian woman are both rescued by a firefighter, Daniel serves as the innocent architect of racial reconciliation between two individuals. This reconciliation is at the heart of this story, a story that doesn't gloss over the harsh details of the riots but instead allows these details to be healed by the people affected. Truly a very engaging book that should be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
RobertaRogers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story starts out with a mom and her son standing by their window watching a riot. They see people stealing, smashing things and screaming. Accross the street people are dragging cartoons of cereal and snacks of rice from Kim's Market. The boy mentioned that they do not shop there because his mother says it is better to buy from our own people. They go to bed but they keep their clothes on. The next thing they know is they are rushing down stairs because their apartment building is on fire. The boy is freaking out because he can not find his cat. The fireman said that the cat probly go away all ready and Kim the lady from the market can not find her cat either. The boy's cat and Kim's cat did not get along either. They end up going to the shelter for the night. The fireman comes to the shelter and brings them their cats he had found. The boy asked where he had found them and he said they were under the stairs together and they were even holding paws. The mother of the boy invites Kim over to share a bowl of milk and Kim accepts the invitation.I enjoyed this book. It was the story more than the pictures. I can not wait to read this to my boy when he gets old enough to let him know not to judge and give everyone a chance.I would definitely read this story aloud to my students. The pictures were great and the meaning behind the story is very helpful.
cbruiz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smoky Night follows a mother and daughter as riots develop in their metro-city town. The story begins with looters and the daughter questioning such. Her mother reassures her and claims the rioters are moving on. There is a scene of someone stealing a tv, then an alarm rings in their apartment complex. The mother and daughter along with a bunch of others storm out of the building. The daughter had left her cat in the apartment, and a fireman rescues it. Another lady from another building finds her cat .The turmoil subsides and there is yet peace again. The daughter and mother visit the lady, bringing their cat to caress with the lady's cat. This book was ok. The story is seemingly satisfactory, but seems to be a true account of riots, having impacted a child's life. The artwork is done with lots of darker colors and surrounded by very exuberant cut-outs, making for a very eye-appealing contrast.
amberntaylor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Daniel and his mother look out their window watching the rioters outside cause terrible disaster on their street. Still in fear, Daniel goes to sleep with his mother and their cat, Jasmine. Waken in the middle of the night by their apartment building being on fire, Daniel and his mother have to leave their lost cat, Jasmine to find shelter. Will They find Jasmine? I thought this book was amazing. It not only is a great book for younger ages, but it also kept me attentive. You could really feel as Daniel, a young child, would feel in a situation like that. I also think it depicts a great view of cultural differences. The book is very realistic with a very real meaning behind the simple story of a lost cat. I think this would be a great book to have a lesson on morals and values with old grades, such as, fourth and fifth graders. Have them pair up and draw, write or talk about what makes them different from each other in front of the class. Have the class as a whole, write why everyone should get along with each other and write their answers on a huge piece of paper and hang it in the room. You could have the kids add to the end of the story, such as, what they think happened when Daniel and his mother got home from the shelter after the riots. Lastly, you could teach on fire prevention and safely leaving a burning building.
katitefft on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent realistic/historical fiction story because it discusses huge themes that have been felt throughout our country's history. It addresses real life issues of violence and hatred that result from racism and prejudice. This story is a great tool to use in critical literacy because it will cause readers to question and think about great themes. The pictures are also impactful and draw readers into the story.
kairstream on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Through Daniel's eyes we have a perspective of the Los Angeles Riots. Daniel's cat gets lost and is found with Mrs. Kim's cat who are now getting along. This act helps the people see they might get along better in the future.
LisaMcG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
3PThis book is certainly explained by Radical Change theory. The collage format of the illustrations establishes synergy between the story and the visuals - for instance, on the pages about the looting of Fashion Shoes, actual soles and other pieces from shoes are featured. The story could've been told simply with text and the acrylic paintings, but Diaz chose to add an extra level of richness and complexity with the collage backgrounds. Furthermore, the story itself expresses the principle of Connectivity and the changing boundaries of books. Before the fire, Daniel tells readers "Mama says it's better if we buy from our own people," and suggests that perhaps people of different backgrounds don't get along in his neighborhood. However, the fire forces everyone to gather together at the shelter, and in the end Daniel's mother invites Mrs. Kim over to visit. Community and friendship evolve from the destruction of the riots, and people who traditionally avoided each other come together in a new way.
dtortorice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a family that lives in an apartment building in an area being ravaged by riots. The little boy awakens to find out his apartment building is on fire. They narrowly escape but he's worried about his little cat. Luckily, that night at the shelter, a fireman arrives holding his cat! Safe but smelling like smoke...
AuntKrissy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"thickly textured and expressionistic acrylic paintings set against mixed media collage" (Tunnel/Jacobs); Caldecott Medal Winner; Author also wrote The Wall, Going Home, Fly Away Home, Night Tree, A Day's Work.
asousley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story starts out showing a mom and her son looking out a window at the violence below. The apartment is set on fire and as they are leaving the boy can't find his cat and another lady can't find hers. They go to a shelter and later a fireman finds the cats. The cats used to not get along, but now they do.The book was alright, but does show how we can help each other out and get along once we get to know each other. A teacher can use this in the classroom as a demonstration of how friendship can develop if we help each other out and get to know each other.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How do you write a children's book about riots, looting, and arson? I've been gradually working my way through all of the Caldecott Medal winners from our local library as bedtime reading for our oldest kids. When I checked this one out, I noticed the illustrations, but didn't pay much attention to the subject matter. As I started reading to my five year old daughter, I wondered whether this was really something I wanted to expose her to. By the end of this powerful little book the answer was clearly yes. It manages to address inherently scary subjects with an ultimately comforting voice, and very directly discourages isolating ourselves from those who are different (a good message for kids to hear, in my opinion).
Leshauck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book was a good story. It was illustrated in a very pastel bright color way. I think it would be good for any kid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 1st grade son brought this book home from the library at school...he loves cats and the picture on the front drew him to the book. As parents, we should always try to keep our children’s' innocence as long as possible. I do not let my children watch the news, or any inappropriate television shows, we bring them up to respect and accept everyone, no matter of race, religion, sexual preference, etc. We teach them right from wrong and that taking things that do not belong to you is always wrong. With that being said, this book is not meant for young readers! I only got through the first 2 pages with him when I told him that this book was inappropriate and that it's for older kids. I read the whole thing after he went to bed and while if offers a very important message & lesson, I would have to say it is not suitable for most kids under age 10. Riots, violence, looting, murder, arson, and racism are not things I want to be discussing with my 6/7 year old.