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The Silence of Our Friends

by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos
Illustrated by Nate Powell

Published by First Second / Roaring Brook Press, 2012
198 pages
ISBN: 978𢴓96436183

Age 12 and older

A graphic novel based on a period in the childhood of coauthor Mark Long tells of the friendship between a white TV news reporter (based on Long抯 father) and a Black professor at Texas State University during the student demonstrations in Houston in 1967. A white police officer was shot and killed during a demonstration, and five Black students have been charged with his murder. The reporter witnessed the shooting and knows the students are innocent梩he officer was accidentally shot by another policeman. But he抯 being pressured by his boss at the TV station to remain silent. In a city fiercely divided along racial lines, portions of the story unfold through the eyes of the two men抯 children, all of whom are affected by the unease and unrest. The authors acknowledge doing a 揵alancing act between fact and fiction in telling the story梞any events, including the murder charge and trial梐re true and detailed more fully in Mark Long抯 note. But the timeline has been adjusted and it would have been helpful to have this clearly delineated. Still, the emotional impact of this tense telling, appropriately illustrated in black-and-white, is powerful.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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