Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own or the opinions of my children.
Synopsis on the back cover: Ten year old Avery is in a panic over the shooting of another unarmed black man. His parents decide it is time to have "The Talk". They teach him and his brother a catchy and easy way to remember what to do if approached by an officer, while also emphasizing that all policeman are not bad.
First thought: Now, in all honesty, when I first read the summary I thought to myself, " OUR babies, OUR men, OUR loved ones are complying and (minding their business) and yet they are still dying. What else is there?
This book is a tough one. Not a tough one to get through, but heavy on the heart. I have an 11 year old son myself and I understand firsthand how necessary it is to have "the talk". What I caught onto and liked right away was that it rhymed. This is an already tough subject to talk about so I felt that, that element in the book made it easier for young readers to sit through and understand. The author highlights 5 points during the talk with Avery - stay alive. "A to L to the I-V-E...come home ALIVE...that is the key!"
The author encourages us to teach "MEMORIZE THE 5"
A - always use your manners
L - listen and comply
I - in control of emotions
V- visible hands always
E - explain everything (as in any movement)
After reading the book to my children, they were both able to repeat these back to me. My 7 year old daughter stumbled a bit through it, but she got the gist of it. The opinion of my 11 year old son was that the book made him sad. He didn't understand why "white people were killing black people." Whew! tough, right? We've had talks before, but after reading this book we were able to (without his sister present) talk more in depth about what is really going on with police brutality. This book will encourage parents to engage in conversation about race and police brutality - and not just among black families. It angers and saddens me that this book is even necessary, but I commend the author for bringing awareness to our children, our families, our community, and even to law enforcement and those that work with them. Great Illustrations by Kim Holt.
About the author - Sanya Gragg is a social worker who has a passion for working with children. Her debut book - "Momma, Did You Hear The News?" was inspired by raising her 2 black sons. The Avery in the book is her very own Avery, in real life.