Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Review of The Day Tajon Got Shot

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

Title: The Day Tajon Got Shot

Author: Teen Writers of Beacon House

Publisher: Shout Mouse Press, 2017

Themes: Black Lives Matter, targeted violence, young black men, loyalty, community

Ages: 14+

 

 

Excerpts: 

“It’s the end of the day and I’m waiting for my customer. I’m in the alley beside the Corner Store and it’s still light outside. It’s only 4:00, and I see a lot of people standing on the corner. Some waiting for the bus, some begging for money. Some of them have been there all day. I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I know that my mother needs me. And this is the only way I can get us out.

Looking around seeing all the crackheads and alcoholics makes me want to stop. I know everyone would be happy for me then. I know that day will come.”

— Temil, writing the perspective of Tajon

“When I got home that night it felt so quiet without my son, without my wife calling me names and arguing, without my daughter complaining about something. It was quiet but lonely. A thought surfaced in my head that it was my fault. My fault that my son was out there selling and got himself caught up in all this. Instead of going out and providing for my family, I chose to drink and waste money and then feel bad and beat on my wife. I hated all that about myself, but I can’t change who I am.

That night that my son got shot, I cried for all I could not change.”

— Mikaya, writing the perspective of Tajon’s father

Synopsis:

In March, 2015, during the height of the conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter, ten teenage girls from NE, D.C. came together to pen a novel attacking one central question: What happens in a community when another black youth is a wrongful victim of violence by police?  They explore what the killing of an unarmed black youth means for every character involved.  The Day Tajon Got Shot features chapters each written by a different, teen from the perspective the protagonist, Tajon, the police officer who shoots Tajon, the officer’s teenage children (who go to the same school as Tajon), a witness etc. The novel is “illustrated” with pictures from the Baltimore protests following the death of Freddie Gray, taken by a D.C. native who was in high school at the time. 

The authors recognize that this is a highly-charged issue, share that they, “want to get beyond the #hashtags and explore the complexity of how it feels to be a human being on all sides of this event. We want to walk inside someone else’s shoes and try to understand what it’s like:

  • To be the black boy who is always assumed to be up to no good.
  • To be the parent of a black boy who must always fear for his safety.
  • To be the friend (or sister or girlfriend) who grieves/rages/defends, becomes an activist or slips into despair
  • To be the cop who commits the violence–perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of bias–and has to deal with the repercussions of his actions, to privately self-examine, to publicly self-defend
  • To be the wife or child of the cop, who loves her husband/father, but may have complicated reactions to what has happened
  • To be a witness, directly or indirectly, who must consider how to respond in a community torn apart, who can choose to sow division or to build a bridge “

Why I like this Book:

This is a powerful and unusual compilation of viewpoints about the intersection of race and criminal justice from the pens of these ten female teen authors. If it is not already, their conversation should be our conversation, as we support this new generation’s fight for civil rights in 21st century USA.

It is an ambitious, book told by multiple authors in different literary forms (Prose, tweets, poetry…) and POV from people all sides of the discussion. It is heart-stoppingly powerful in places and so very timely. Because of the multiple teen voices it also feels very present, in the now, as though I am on the street listening in on conversations. With such a charged topic they achieve that fine balance of the complexity of perspectives while honoring the loss of the innocent, and the righteous anger of the bereaved.

In all the pain of racial injustice and the call to social change, this book celebrates courageous writing, and the voice of teens everywhere. We need to listen to them. I look forward to more stories from this publisher.

Resources/Activities:

This is my review for MCBD2018, who sent me the book

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

2018 Author Sponsors
Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

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One Response to Multicultural Children’s Book Day – Review of The Day Tajon Got Shot

  1. This sounds like a timely and realistic story about racial injustice! I like how a group of authors wrote this power read. I just finished The Hate U Give, which opened my eyes to things I hadn’t thought about — like this book. I look forward to more of these stories being written. Sharon Draper also touched on these themes in her early series. It is a perfect MCBD and Black History offering. Great review!

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