Watch Party Family Talking Points
Something Happened In Our Town
By Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer Zivion
Buy the book ‘Something Happened In Our Town’ from Bookshop
View a read aloud created with publisher permission by Saladin Allah on YouTube
How to use stories to discuss hard things with young kids:
- Avoid dumping all of these questions on young children right after the story. Give them a day to process their thoughts and formulate their own questions.
- 1-2 days after reading the story, offer to read it again.
- Ask the first set of questions. Show them they aren’t under pressure to come up with quick answers. Leave at least 6 seconds of silence after asking, and after they answer, before speaking again.
- Stop when kids start to get antsy, and pick up this discussion another day. We will not raise anti-racists in one long discussion.
- Revisit this story, and these questions over time - kids will unpack different layers as they age.
- Share this document with a friend: https://bit.ly/FamilySummer4BlackLives-WatchPartyDiscussion
Check out the Luminary Word Bank for help defining the terms below for your kids.
Guided Discussion Questions After Reading Something Happened In Our Town
Day 1: Acknowledging our individual identity
- In the story, each family’s racial identity changed how they talked about what happened. What is your racial identity?
- What do people think they know about you because of your race?
- How does it feel when people make guesses about how you will act based only on how you look?
Day 2: Acknowledging out community identity
- How is your racial identity similar to - or different than - your family members?
- What are the racial identities of the adults (family, teachers, etc. ) who care for you?
- What are the racial identities of the kids you spend time with?
- How do you feel about having friends with these identities?
- Who is missing from these groups, and why?
Day 3: How do we fit in?
- How often are you mostly surrounded by people who look like you?
- How often are you in places where only a few people look like you?
- How often are you in places where you’re the only one?
- How does it feel in each of these situations?
Day 4: Owning our experience
- Who are you with when you feel safe? Why do they make you feel safe?
- Who are you with when you feel nervous? Why do you feel nervous with them?
- When have you been excluded because of the way you looked?
- When have you avoided playing with someone because of the way they looked?
- How did it feel to avoid that person back then?
- After reading this story - have your feelings changed? How?
- How would your family feel if you invited a friend with the same racial identity as you over to play?
- Would their feelings change if you brought home a friend of another race?
Day 5: Recognizing Our Patterns
- Ask your family why you live in your community. How did you end up there?
- If your neighborhood or school has mostly people of the same race - why do you think that is?
- What do other kids sometimes say or do that make you feel uncomfortable?
- What do adults sometimes say or do that make you feel uncomfortable?
- When do you normally see other kids getting picked on?
- How does it feel to see that?
- What might happen if we tried to stop it?
- When do you normally avoid, argue, or disagree with other kids?
- Do these kids tend to be the same race as you? Or different?
Day 6: Taking Action
- When I see someone picking on others because of the way they look - how do I wish I could respond?
- Who are three safe adults who I could talk to when I hear things that make me uncomfortable?
- What could I say to a person being picked on show I care?
- What could I say to a person saying a hurtful thing to someone else?
- Which of my friends do I think would find this book interesting?
- Which of my friends wouldI feel safe talking with about my answers to these questions?