That Flag

HarperCollins. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063093447.
K-Gr 4–Best friends Keira and Bianca have two very different reactions to the Confederate flag while on a school trip. Keira, who is Black, sees the very heart of racial hate and violence, from slavery to Selma, from segregation to the Ku Klux Klan. Bianca, who is white and whose family has a Confederate flag waving outside their home, sees it as a “heritage flag. A celebration of courage and pride.” These two very different points of view hold until racial violence makes the news, as does an appearance by that flag. Brown gives readers a child’s-eye view of fear and confusion as Keira struggles to understand why Bianca is unaffected by the images on display at the museum; Smith’s digital illustration captures these emotions with darker muddled colors where the bright colors of the Confederate flag shine through. Back matter includes information on the history of the Confederate flag, notes from the author and illustrator, and source notes and recommended reading.
VERDICT A brave and deeply affecting story about friendship, perspective, anti-racism, and the importance of understanding history. This may be an essential book about a cultural flashpoint.

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