Riot on the Street


90 pages
ISBN 0-02-954208-1
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Greg Ruhl
Reviewed by Lisa Arsenault

Lisa Arsenault is an elementary-school teacher in Ajax.


A black high-school student dances with a white girl from another part
of town, to the annoyance of several white males. Initial pushing and
shoving, broken up by the police, eventually escalates into gang fights.
Constant harassment by the whites results in one of the black
students’ buying a gun for protection. In near-riot conditions, he
accidentally shoots and kills one of his own friends instead of the
white student who was attacking his friend.

This story is narrated by one of the black students, moderate in both
his behavior and beliefs, who is caught up in the violence almost by
default. We empathize with his confusion about how a petty incident
could spiral so out of control and ultimately have such devastating
effects. This short novel would make an effective teaching tool,
generating thought and discussion about race relations, with the
emphasis on the teenage viewpoint. It is a Series 2000 edition, and
there is an accompanying Teacher’s Guide available. Recommended.


Kropp, Paul., “Riot on the Street,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,