Noche de humo (Smoky Night)

Overview

Eve Bunting’s heartfelt story and David Diaz’s dramatic illustrations create a compelling child’s-eye view of urban violence. A young boy and his mother are forced to flee their apartment during a night of rioting in Los Angeles. Fires and looting force neighbors—who have always avoided one another—to come together in the face of danger and concern for their missing pets. David Diaz was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his bold acrylic paint and...

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0152019464 9780152019464

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Overview

Eve Bunting’s heartfelt story and David Diaz’s dramatic illustrations create a compelling child’s-eye view of urban violence. A young boy and his mother are forced to flee their apartment during a night of rioting in Los Angeles. Fires and looting force neighbors—who have always avoided one another—to come together in the face of danger and concern for their missing pets. David Diaz was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his bold acrylic paint and photo-collage illustrations.

When the Los Angeles riots break out in the streets of their neighborhood, a young boy and his mother learn the value of getting along with others no matter what their background or nationality.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bunting addresses urban violence in this thought-provoking and visually exciting picture book inspired by the Los Angeles riots. Although they're neighbors, Daniel's cat and Mrs. Kim's cat don't get along. Nor do Daniel and his mother shop at Mrs. Kim's market. ``It's better if we buy from our own people,'' Daniel's mother says. But when Daniel's apartment building goes up in flames, all of the neighbors (including the cats) learn the value of bridging differences. Bunting does not explicitly connect her message about racism with the riots in her story's background, but her work is thoroughly believable and taut, steering clear of the maudlin or didactic. Diaz's dazzling mixed-media collages superimpose bold acrylic illustrations on photographs of carefully arranged backgrounds that feature a wide array of symbolic materials--from scraps of paper and shards of broken glass to spilled rice and plastic dry-cleaner bags. Interestingly, Diaz doesn't strongly differentiate the presumably Asian American Mrs. Kim from the African American characters--even the artwork here cautions the reader against assumptions about race. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Daniel and his mother are witnesses to urban riots. From his window, Daniel watches the dark streets in confusion as his mother tries to explain looting, mob anger, and neighborhood animosities. When fire makes them seek refuge in a shelter, a Korean neighbor becomes a real person and personal prejudice begins to heal. Diaz conveys the strong message by placing dramatic insets in his powerful collages.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This book, the Caldecott Award winner for the year's finest illustrations, is a story of tolerance placed in the violent setting of the LA riots. The illustrations are collages that add intrigue and extend the story. Shattered glass surrounds a picture of looting; spilled multi-colored cereal accents items spilled from grocery store thieving; and plastic bags describe the senseless stealing from a dry cleaner. The young hero is confused by the chaos and frightened by fire, smashed glass, and his missing cat. His protective mother calmly explains every part of the night's madness. But it is the boy who is the agent of change when he notices how his cat has made friends with another cat; an enemy cat belonging to the Korean woman who owns the grocery down the street. The Korean woman, who had always seemed different and separate becomes a friend in the shelter during the smoky night. This book would be incredibly helpful for children who have shared the protagonist's experience. It is a meaningful book to talk about the violence that surrounds today's children. Unfortunately, I don't think its a book that will profoundly affect children over broad geographic areas or over time.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Daniel and his mother watch through their window as an urban riot is in progress. She tries to explain what is happening as he sees the laughing people break into the neighborhood stores and rob them. One of the victims is Mrs. Kim, whose cat is the enemy of his cat, Jasmine. Daniel's mother doesn't shop at Mrs. Kim's store because she feels it's better to ``buy from our own people.'' Later, their building is set on fire and he and his mother go with their neighbors to a shelter. The boy worries about Jasmine, and is relieved when a fireman brings her and Mrs. Kim's cat to the shelter. The felines have learned to get along in their shared danger. Bunting skillfully uses the voice of the child narrator. His innocent view of the riots makes the destructive behavior of the rioters more abhorrent. His suggestion that the cats were enemies only because they did not know each other well enough enables the adults to reach out to one another and bridge the distance their prejudice has kept between them. Diaz illustrates the story with bold, dark, stylized acrylic paintings framed by collage backgrounds of various textured objects usually reflecting the text. When the rioters loot a dry cleaners, for example, the background is wire hangers and plastic film. The pictures are more arresting than appealing, but they invite discussion and will stimulate thoughtful responses to this quietly powerful story.-Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152019464
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 36
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.95 (w) x 9.95 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

EVE BUNTING has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz. 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.

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