What Lane by Torrey Maldonado

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books

What Lane? - Kindle edition by Maldonado, Torrey. Children Kindle ...

Summary:  Stephen wears a bracelet that reads “What lane?”, a basketball reference to staying in your lane, which is something he doesn’t want to do.  He’s curious about the world, and eager to move between all different lanes.  But then he starts to see that it’s not that easy for him as a biracial kid who tends to hang out with the white kids. He begins to notice that he’s often treated differently by adults, often coming under suspicion in a way his white friends aren’t.  A new group of black friends give him a new perspective, and all his friends come to his rescue when he’s the victim of bullying by a new kid in town.  Stephen has some hard truths to learn, but he’s also fortunate to have good support from his white mom, black dad, and good friends.  144 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  A quick read that’s a great reluctant reader pick and an excellent catalyst for conversations about racism.  Stephen’s voice rings true, and most of the kids in his circle are trying to do the right thing.  A definite awards contender for 2020.

Cons:  There was a lot packed into 144 pages. The plot felt at times like it was driven by the agenda, without as much of an opportunity to develop the storyline and the characters as a longer book would have offered.

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