Children’s Book Sugar Coats Horrific Events of 2014 Ferguson Unrest: ‘Some People Were Meaner Than Mean’

Amphorae Publishing

Amphorae Publishing

Children’s Book Sugar Coats Horrific Events of 2014 Ferguson Unrest: ‘Some People Were Meaner Than Mean’A children’s book about 2014’s deadly events in Ferguson, Missouri has drawn criticism for completely ignoring unarmed Michael Brown’s death by a white cop.

According to the book’s website, Painting for Peace in Ferguson is based on the Paint for Peace St. Louis community effort in Ferguson and St. Louis. It’s written as a “child-friendly poem” which makes it problematic.

The first page of Carol Swartout Klein’s book reads, “in the small town of Ferguson in 2014, some people did things that were meaner than mean. Some people were mad, some people were sad but everyone, everywhere felt pretty bad.”

A sad face caps the verses off.

Amphorae Publishing

Amphorae Publishing

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the children’s book was released last year but its accompanying coloring book was released just last month. Artist Robert O’Neil helped put it together and proceeds will go towards art, education and youth initiatives in the north St. Louis County area.

Klein grew up in Ferguson and was inspired to write the picture book after seeing volunteers in Ferguson “coming together to bring hope to a community in shock.”

Even still, the book ignores the killing of Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson which kick-started the city’s protestsPainting for Peace rounds up the events this way.

“Police were there
And protesters too
People were scared
Didn’t know what to do

Some locked their doors
Boarded windows up tight
To help keep them safe
All through the long night

But when morning came
Folks took one look around
And said we don’t like
The looks of our town

 We have an idea
We know what to do
We’ll bring out our paints
Red, Yellow and Blue”

Though writer Sarah Kendzior took issue with the book’s “appalling revisionist history of white saviors,” Dwayne Ingram, patient advocacy coordinator at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, believed it provides a way to share the story of Ferguson in a kid-friendly way.

Kendzior gave a lengthy explanation about her problems with the picture book.

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