by Torrey Maldonado
Nancy Paulsen Books
If you are wondering how to begin confronting Anti-Black racism in your classroom, start with What Lane?--School Library Journal: The Classroom Bookshelf
STAY IN YOUR LANE. Stephen doesn't want to hear that--he wants to have no lane.
Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn't think it's his lane, but he goes. Here's the thing, though: Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he's not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he's living in two worlds with different rules--and he's been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends . . .
So what'll he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his--and who should be with him.
Torrey Maldonado, author of the highly acclaimed Tight, does a masterful job showing a young boy coming of age in a racially split world, trying to blaze a way to be his best self.
Target Age: 10 to 13
"Engaging, timely novel. . . . Maldonado (Tight) paints a vivid, relatable picture of an adventurous boy learning the rewards and dangers of straying out of his lane against the backdrop of an unfair system that could see him killed or arrested for the behaviors his white peers easily engage in. The characters are warmly realistic, by turns impulsive and regretful. In relatively few words, Maldonado elucidates matters related to racial profiling, police violence against black people, and allyship, all through the eyes of a brave kid trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs."-- Publishers
"Sixth-graders Stephen and Dan are so close that they could be twins aside from their race difference, but that difference is beginning to matter to the outside world. . . . Presents an honest account of a Black boy who has to grow up faster than his white friends, all while wishing his friend groups could just be together regardless of race. . . . Makes the point that the frequency of racist encounters means they're daunting yet mundane, and there is an interesting dynamic between Stephen's Black father and white mother, who both want to protect their son but take different approaches. His father and friend Wes both tie in real life details about current events such as Tamir Rice's shooting and the Black Lives Matter movement, which adds to the authenticity and could make this selection a discussion starter."-- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
About the Author:
Torrey Maldonado (torreymaldonado.com), also the author of the critically acclaimed Tight and Secret Saturdays, is a teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised. His books reflect his students' and his experiences.