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What Lane?
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What Lane?
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"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...
"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...
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  • "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.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover Chapter 1
     
    “This movie is lit.” Dan aims his TV remote to start Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. “Chad hated it. I played it for him here. All he said was ‘Trash. They shoulda kept Spider-Man white.’”
    “What?!” I shake my head. “He’s wack. How you both even cousins?”
    He lowers the remote. “He’s not wack.”
    My parents’ voices in my head say, Blood is thicker than water. Family picks family over friends.
    I ease up and stare at the window.
    Chad is Dan’s cousin, and he just moved to our neighborhood. He’s a sixth grader like us. So far, I’m not feeling him. Anything I say, he contradicts. Any­time I’m around, he puts me down.
    I hate how Dan doesn’t notice and now even defends him.
    Me and Dan live in connecting buildings and we’re over at each other’s so much, we practically live in the same apartment. And we’re both into superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi, and similar stuff. Basi­cally, we’re twins, except we look opposite. He’s white-white. I’m not. People sometimes call me Stephen Curry from basketball because of our names, skin color, and features. We even fade our fros similar.
    “So, Stephen, not only is this new Spider-Man almost our age, it gets better. He’s from Brooklyn too. His full name is Miles Morales, he’s fourteen, and—”
    I’m amped again. “Skip explaining. Show me.”
    “Just so you know, the movie is kinda violent, so don’t get scared.”
    “Dan, you funny. You know all movies are my lane.”
    “Nah! You run if people get hurt or bloody.”
    “Run?! When?
    He sits next to me and poses like me watch­ing TV. “This wasn’t you? When we saw Stranger Things?” His leg gets jumpy and he changes his voice into mine: “I’ma get ice cream. You want?”
    “What?! I didn’t do that.”
    “Yeah. You. Did.”
    I stare from him to my wrist, at the only bracelet I rock. It’s black with bright white glow-in-the-dark letters that say WHAT LANE?
    Last year, I got it on a school trip to a Barclays Center basketball game. There, this player Marshall Carter, nicknamed MC, was on that next next level. He kept scoring—any way he wanted. Everyone else had a lane. They had sick passes or swished in half-court shots. Marshall was wavy in every lane. He bagged three-pointers, passed like whoa, and did crossovers that made guys fall on their butts. And almost every time he scored, he’d yell, “What lane?!” and WHAT LANE? flashed on the JumboTron. He had no lane.
    That day, I bought MC’s bracelet after the game. I wanted his saying on my arm. What lane?!
    I want to be that: in every lane, have no lane.
    Now I thumb my bracelet. “Dan, this movie is my lane too. Press Play.”
    Dan aims his remote at the screen, and when it starts, we point. “Times Square!”
    Then we shout again: “Empire State Building!”
    New York City spots at night keep flashing. This. Is. So. Tight! I love when my city gets to shine.
    At one point, he elbows me. “How wild is it that Miles can pass for you or your brother, if you had one?”
    “Facts.” Miles Morales could be me. He’s half African American too, and even though his other side is Puerto Rican and mine is white, most people say we Black.
    I...

About the Author-

  • Torrey Maldonado (torreymaldonado.com), 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 16, 2020
    In this engaging, timely novel, sixth grader Stephen is growing up in Brooklyn; he loves “superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi” and basketball, as well as hanging out with his best friend Dan, the same as he always has. But though his white mother calls him “mixed,” since he’s half black and half white, Stephen’s beginning to realize the world now sees him as “what they imagine or what the media teaches them to think about Black men.” In situations where Dan, who is white, is considered harmless, Stephen gets in trouble for doing the very same things—and being perceived as trouble can have dire consequences. 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. Ages 10–up.

  • AudioFile Magazine Torrey Maldonado brings warmth and empathy to the narration of his novel about a mixed-race sixth grader named Stephen. Caught between his best friend, Dan, and Dan's racist cousin, as well as trying to integrate his racially segregated friend groups, Stephen is finding it difficult to navigate life amid his growing awareness of the racism around him. Maldonado gives realistically distinct voices to each member of Stephen's diverse group of friends, but his portrayal of Stephen feels the most authentic. While the text is sometimes more didactic than dramatic, Maldonado does a wonderful job portraying Stephen's enthusiasm, and listeners will relate to his changing friendships and feelings of injustice and peer pressure. S.C. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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