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Kenneth Braswell had never found himself to be short of answers until the day his son asked him what a protest was. This was during the protests that were happening in Baltimore over the untimely death of prisoner Freddie Gray. Braswell wasn’t quite sure what to tell his son and how to explain the situation to him in a way that he would understand. After a lot of thought he finally figured it out and instead of telling just his son, he decided to tell everyone through a children’s book. This is how Daddy, There’s a Noise Outside was born.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been going on for quite some time now in an effort to bring to light the issue of the large number of black men, women, and children who were being killed by police officers all over the country. Some of the most notable cases were Eric Garner in July of 2014, Michael Brown Jr. in October of 2014, Tamir Rice in November of 2014, and Freddie Gray in April of 2015. All of these men died at the hands of police officers. Garner was put into a chokehold, had an asthma attack, and died. Brown was shot in the street after an alleged foot pursuit. Rice was shot and killed because he was playing with a BB gun that looked like a real gun on a playground. Gray was taken into police custody for a weapons charge and while he was in the escort van he fell into a coma and later died due to spinal injuries sustained.
Braswell was in Baltimore at the time of the Freddie Gray protests and his six year old son was curious about what was going on. He tried to find the right words to explain it to him. He spoke with his friends about it and one of them told him to write a children’s book to help other parents explain it to their children. He was relieved to learn that he wasn’t alone in this situation and became determined to help others. The book feature a black family where the mother and father explain what protests are and why they are held to the children so that they would understand their importance. It was released to the public on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Not only is this book an important one because of the subject matter, but because of the characters. Daniel Jose Older from The Guardian stated that in 2014, out of the 3,500 children’s books published, only 5% featured black characters. Braswell wants every family to be able to learn an important lesson from the book, but especially black families.
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