Book signing set

Published 5:58 pm Saturday, October 30, 2021

In 2020, Steven K. Smith completed his 9th book in The Virginia Mysteries series entitled Pictures at the Protest. Targeted for young readers ages 7-12, the adventure explores the racial history of Virginia and key locations like the Moton Museum, Evergreen Cemetery, Jackson Ward and the Virginia State Capitol, as well as important figures including Barbara Johns, Oliver Hill and Maggie Walker. The fictional story follows significant civil rights history as well as contemporary conversations about race and monuments. The event will take place on Nov. 13 in the Moton Museum from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The program will begin with a welcome from the Moton Museum staff followed by a book discussion by Smith. There will then be an educational presentation by individuals impacted by the history that occurred in Farmville followed by a time of question and answer. The museum will then open for guided and self-guided tours, and Smith will be available to sell and sign copies of all his middle grade books.

The event is free and open to the public, but a museum donation is recommended for adults. If you have any questions, please contact Cainan Townsend, associate director at the Robert Russa Moton Museum or Smith.

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Praise for Pictures at the Protest (all from online reader reviews):

“My list of books that I consider top-notch for read-alouds is very short, but it became one book longer after reading this novel. Chapter 3 alone does an excellent job of addressing the concepts my 4th graders need to know, but interwoven throughout the whole text is the greater narrative of kids learning about VA’s past through a historical and honest lens…I cannot wait to read this book to my students!”

“A must read for students and adults! This book could not have come at a better time…sheds light on the important history of our nation, especially the mistakes of the past as well as the present.”

“My 11-year-old…was inspired by one of the character’s actions in this book which took courage and fortitude and was not sure he would have been brave enough to do the same thing. It stimulated a great conversation about doing the right thing, even when it may have a personal cost, and why it is important to know when to stand up and accept confrontation and when to walk away.” “The topic (racism) is difficult, but the author did a great job of making this topic interesting to all readers. He really explored the nuances of racial justice and how to be an ally. The book generated a lot of family discussion about history, social justice, racism and about how not acting can be a big problem.”

“As a parent I was thankful to have this book open up a lot of discussions about topics that can be difficult to understand for young children.”

“With the events of today’s world of racial and social injustices, this book is a perfect read for students to take a glimpse into the past as the main characters learn about events of the 1959 school closing in a Virginia school system…Students will love reading about this topic as there are so many connections in today’s world, all written in a way in which they can understand and process. Smith has a way with words to make it real, showing the intense emotions and feelings present in 1959 yet done in a way which is appropriate and well written for children.”

“As an elementary librarian, I love this series for my 3rd-5th grade students and the tie-in to many Virginia History SOLs is an added bonus! Pictures at the Protest is a great discussion starter for conversations about racism and events that kids have recently seen in their own cities.”