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The Silence of Our Friends

by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, and Nate Powell. New York, NY: First Second, 2012

A semi-autobiographical story of Mark Long's family about two families - one black and one white in Houston, Texas, in 1968, and how they try to change things. It begins with racial tensions following the Texas Southern University student boycott and ends with Dr. King’s assassination. It reinforces and emphasizes and Dr. King’s powerful words: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

The books themes emphasize the power of words and friendship and the struggles one often makes for change, and there is a neat use of metaphor. It addresses social studies themes such as: historical events; culture and cultural diversity; continuity and change among and between cultures; national and community institutions; the powers and challenges of governance; and citizenship and civic ideals and practices.

It is a New York Times Bestseller, and received multiple awards including Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, Tri-State Reviews Committee Books of Note.

See how to use this book to teach metaphor and literary devices (pp. 101-102) and explore citizenship (pp. 140-144) in Worth A Thousand Words: Using Graphic Novels to Teach Visual and Verbal LIteracy.

Grades 6+

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