Blackout by John Rocco

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One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun--talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again. Using a combination of panels and full bleed illustrations that move from color to black-and-white and back to color, John Rocco shows that if we are willing to put our cares aside for a while, there is party potential in a summer blackout.

About John Rocco

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John Rocco ( has held a wide variety of jobs in his life, from working in the shell fishing industry, to designing attractions for Walt Disney World's Epcot, to creating illustrations for the DreamWorks movie "Shrek." Since 2005 his focus has been on creating children's books, such as Wolf! Wolf!, a Borders Original Voices Award-winner; Moonpowder; and Fu Finds the Way. He has also created the cover artwork for Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Kane Chronicles series. John and his family live in Brooklyn, New York, where they have experienced their share of memorable summer blackouts.
Published May 24, 2011 by Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Blackout

Kirkus Reviews

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"It started out as a normal summer night"—until the lights go out, citywide.

May 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Blackout

The New York Times

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Books for children by Brooklyn authors now match the similarly numberless books by Brooklyn-based authors for grown-ups.

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Blackout

Publishers Weekly

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Rocco's sublime account of a city blackout reveals a bittersweet truth: it sometimes takes a crisis to bring a family together.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Blackout


The city glows with light in the middle of a steaming summer evening as music, laughter, and the conversations of people drift out of buildings along streets alive with rumbling trucks and zipping cars.

Feb 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Blackout

In Rocco’s beautifully told story, a blackout brings one family together and allows a child to see her city in a whole new light .

May 14 2017 | Read Full Review of Blackout

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

May 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Blackout


Do you remember the last time your house was quiet?

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