On May 26, 2007 a group of white supremacists came to Knoxville, Tennessee to stage a protest in a public park. However they were thwarted in their efforts to stir up racial anger by a group of clown counter protesters: The Coup Clutz Clowns. In a series of staged antics, the clowns ‘misheard’ the cry ‘white power’ as various near rhymes: white flour, white flowers, tight showers, wife power [they also heard 'wipe power' and produced rolls of toilet paper. That doesn't make it into the kid's book version].
With beautiful illustrations from Jenn Hales, author and activist David LaMotte retells the tale of that day in Knoxsville with their book White Flour. There are certain artistic liberties taken (i.e. the book pictures the white supremacist group as Klansmen instead of a neo-Nazi group) but all of the antics described and pictured in the book were preformed on that protest day.
Here is a picture from the actual protest (photo credit Conrad Honicker):
And here is a sample images from the book:
I found the story thoroughly entertaining and loved the true story behind it. But any review of a children’s book should at least have some opinions from actually children. Luckily I have three of my own to opine. All of my kids love the pictures in this book including my 18 month old, but my five year old is probably the only one old enough to follow what is happening in the narrative and I honestly do not know how well she understands it. It may be more appropriate for slightly older kids. I have no problem teaching my kids creative non-violence, but I also had to explain racism, white supremacists and the Klan to my five year old. Perhaps it is best to hear about the horrors of hate groups at home, but if you wish to guard your child’s innocence as long as you can, maybe wait a while for this one. Maybe age 6? 7? Of course my kids are white so they had the luxury of not being victim to overt racism at their young age, so it might be different from kid to kid. I think this a fun book with a great message (do not meet hate and anger with hate, but with love and laughter).
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.