Caldecott Book: Smoky Night

Book Information


Bunting, Eve. (1994). Smoky Night. Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company.

Caldecott Medal, Children’s Literature, Picture Book, General Fiction

Grades K-3

I enjoyed this book a lot because of the parallels between the interactions of the people and the interactions among the cats in the story. The book had a strong story with an even better message. I think Bunting does a great job explaining the heavy subject of racism and discrimination to younger students. The idea of the different colored cats finally getting along also opens up the idea of acceptance. The relationship between Ms.Kim and the Mom also progressed throughout the book. I thought the time period and historical context made the story more interesting and it would be a great book to read as an integrated history lesson about civil rights. The illustrations were also very vivid and drew me into the story even more.

I thought the plot was intriguing and the illustrations worked right along with keeping the reader interested in the story. The book had a really good insight to Daniel’s feelings and I felt that that makes the story more relatable to children. After doing further research on the book I learned that it was based on the LA Riots. I think this book would be good to introduce younger children to harder topics and would also teach them about empathy and acceptance.


After reading Smoky Night, think about a time when you accepted someone for who they were and practiced kindness even though they may have been different from you. Why is being kind important in a community? Why is being different than others important?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is happening outside of Daniel’s Window?
  2. Why doesn’t Mama think she should buy anything from Ms.Kim’s store?
  3. What did the people learn from the cats? Why is it important to get along with others?


Write a letter to a classmate, family member or friend that you care about or think about a time where you practiced a random act of kindness to someone who you didn’t know and write a reflection of how it made you feel.




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