HomeInterviewsAuthor InterviewsClaire Hartfield, Author of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 | Speed Interview

Claire Hartfield, Author of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 | Speed Interview

The Children’s Book Review | January 2, 2017

The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe A FEW RED DROPS: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919?

Claire Hartfield: Gripping, Present Echoes Past, Conversation-starter.

Can you share one highlight from A FEW RED DROPS: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 with our readers?

Five black teens went to the beach with nothing more on their minds than a day of fun. One ended up dead. Why? The raft they were sailing on floated across an invisible line into whites-only territory. A fateful case of wrong place, wrong time ended up like throwing a lit match on gasoline.

What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?

This comment let me know the book hits home: Dang! That was 100 years ago and it could have been yesterday. That boy who got killed could have been me.

Why do you think non-fiction books are an important part of a teen’s reading list?

History is you if you’d been born a little earlier. If that makes you curious, check out my thoughts on Why History Matters at clairehartfield.com.

What’s on your nightstand? Any books?

Oh Yeah. Top of the pile right now: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates., and YA novel We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?

Chocolate and more chocolate. Never too much.

Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?

For YA books, computer is the go-to. For picture books, lined notebooks and colored pens.

Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?

I love earrings. Makes the whole outfit!

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I always like to hear from my readers! You can email me at info [at] clairehartfield [dot] com. Let me know what you think about A Few Red Drops and what you’d love the next book to be about.

Few-Red-DropsA Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

Written by Claire Hartfield

Publisher’s Synopsis: On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the “white” beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. Archival photos and prints, source notes, bibliography, index.

Ages 12+ | Publisher: Clarion Books | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544785137

Available Here: 

About the Author


Claire Haritfield

Claire Hartfield received her B.A from Yale University and her law degree from the University of Chicago. As a lawyer, she has specialized in school desegregation litigation. More recently, she has been involved in setting policy and creating programs in a charter school setting on Chicago’s African-American West Side. She heard stories of the 1919 race riot from her grandmother, who lived in the Black Belt in Chicago at the time, and was moved to share this history with younger generations. Ms. Hartfield lives in Chicago.

This speed interview with Claire Hartfield, author of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with , and .

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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