"Riot in the Night" by Bonnie Hinman is the 18th book in The American Adventure Series. This historical fiction is based in Cincinnati in 1836. The issue at hand in this particular book is slavery. The character traits/morals highlighted include considering both sides to an issue, being polite when you disagree with someone, and being decisive on issues of importance.
For an review of the series as a whole and a description of how the books stay connected while moving through generations of time, click hear to read Knowledge House's review. If you've read the preceding books, you'll have some ideas of who the characters are, but you do not have to start with the first book and read them all in order. Feel free to pick up on the book covering the time frame you want to focus on and move forward from there. Moving in reverse order would get confusing as the characters referenced would regress in age.
At the same time, a man named James Birney has began printing his newspaper, the Philanthropist, at the printing shop in town. Birney's abolitionist viewpoint stirs the town up. Many people in Cincinnati were against slavery, but they were very reluctant to speak out about the status of slavery in southern states due to the potential for economic backlash. When you're selling goods downriver, it doesn't seem like a good idea to try tell your customers to change their way of earning a living.
Chapter 4 of this book has the older boys going to the "Western Museum," which could be recognized historically as a "sideshow" or "freak show" for lack of better words. This is certainly a sad part of our history, that displays set up to shock and disgust attendees were popular attractions. While in reality, some of these traveling circuses held people and creatures as "attractions," in this book there seem to be bones, a tattooed shrunken head, and many gory wax figure scenes- including scenes depicting murders and different varieties of hell, complete with wax figures depicted as suffering in hell.
My 6 year old is sensitive, so at times I have "edited" by omission or paraphrasing content. I read the first few sentences of chapter 4 and quickly decided this chapter would have a great deal of omission and paraphrasing. My kids got the idea that this "museum" was a place designed to scare people or shock them, because some people think that's cool and we are curious by nature. I explained that there were wax figure scenes where they showed wax guys set up like they were killing each other, but these are statues. I basically scanned each paragraph and then put it into sensitive-six-year-old at bedtime words. For exampled I referred to the "tattooed shrunken head" as a guy with tattoos. Nothing scary about that, but I think my kids are aware tattoos used to be considered more of a novelty than they are nowadays. My 9 year old was asking for more details, but, honestly, this is the first time in this book series I've encountered content that I think was too mature/graphic for him. Not that the words were lengthy graphic descriptions, but the concepts... and once we've imagined something awful in our heads, it can be just as hard to get out of our mind as if we'd actually seen it on TV or elsewhere.
In this book, I think you could skip chapter 4 and move right from chapter 3 to 5 without causing much confusion. In a previous book, I wasn't able to do so. In this series, it's a theme that one of the main characters has an area they are struggling in that needs to be worked out. The characters have several experiences and by the end of the book, they've learned a good moral lesson, or strengthened their character in some way. So skipping these chapters entirely could omit a big piece of that journey since they are climactic. In those cases, I give a limited paraphrase, and we are able to understand the dialogue between other characters in later chapters that refer back to the climax. We are also able to see how the character grew and progressed through trying circumstances.