That Flag by Tameka Fryer Brown illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

Published by HarperCollins

Summary:  Although Kiera considers Bianca her best friend, she’s not allowed to go over to Bianca’s because of the Confederate flag that flies outside their house.  While Kiera’s parents tell her that the flag is a symbol of violence and oppression, Bianca’s family describes it as a celebration of courage and pride.  Kiera is confused until a class trip to the Legacy Museum where she learns a history of racism that she didn’t know about. That night her family shares stories about their own experiences of racism that Kiera has never heard about before.  The stories leave her feeling scared and angry, and she finds that she no longer wants to be friends with Bianca, who seems unaffected by the museum trip.  A few days later, both girls see news reports of two Black people shot by three white men wielding a Confederate flag.  When Kiera and her parents go to a candlelight vigil, she’s surprised to see Bianca there with her family, and even more surprised on the drive home when she sees that they’ve taken down their flag.  The next day, Bianca passes Kiera a note saying, “You were right,” and Kiera wonders if they might be able to be friends after all.  Includes additional information about the Confederate flag, a list of sources, and notes from the author and illustrator.  40 pages; grades 1-4.

Pros:  This story addresses some difficult topics in a way that elementary students will understand, offering hope for friendship between the two girls while explaining why this is difficult for Kiera.  The additional information adds context to the story.  An excellent choice for teaching Black history and how it continues to affect us today.

Cons:  Be sure to block out plenty of time to share this book…there’s a lot to unpack.

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