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Before race related tensions were at such a modern day high, author Torrey Maldonado penned a relatable story reaching children and adults with urgent conversations that need to be had, but are also sensitive and somewhat disturbing. He approaches heavy topics skillfully and honestly. His discourse with our eighth graders was encouraging of all that’s good in them. Mr. Maldonado is definitely one of New York’s finest, and a first responder who uses words to reach and to heal!
I admit I love everything Torrey Maldonado writes, but I have a particular fondness for What Lane. Fast paced, strong characters, and timely. I'm currently reading this with my 7th grade nephew and a bunch of his friends - I love discussing this book with them, and think the issues it raises are incredibly important. They are all - and they range from voracious to reluctant readers - eager to read and excited to talk.
I absolutely loved reading this book. As a mother of two girls, 8 and 6, we will be reading it together as a family. It is completely accessible for elementary school students and have shared this with my friends. We are putting together a summer book club from elementary students through middle school. I highly recommend this book to any parent or educator to begin essential conversations about racial identity development!
If you are looking for a book for kids that helps them understand what's going on in the world right now, and does so with a focus on the daily presence of racism in our society and effective ways to be an ally/friend, look no further. This is the book. It's a short and sweet read, accessible to kids without dumbing down the issues.
What Lane? is a short middle grades book that contains serious and relevant content. This story follows the story of Stephen, a middle grades, mixed-race student as he walks through his own identity. This story is so relevant in today’s world climate in dealings with racial issues. This books is a great book for young children to begin to grasp the real social events that are happening everyday out in the world. Though this book may be shorter, it leaves a lasting impression on the reader through the important content that it brings to the table throughout this story. And just like Stephen does in the book, the reader can learn to ask themselves the question, what lane are you in?
4.0 out of 5 starsGood Story Idea, Black Lives Matter
Reviewed in the United States on 22 March 2021
I like the idea of the main character having an African American father and white mother. I had not thought about the son, Stephen experiencing a dramatic change in the way that people of other races treated when he got older not when he was younger.
The main story had to do with Black Lives Matter, but there were other things that were thought-provoking too. I wondered why Stephen's mother tried to protect him, instead of making him aware that people were going to treat him differently and have different expectations of him. To me, that make him but vulnerable to not learn that from his mother.
My problem was that I was clueless about some slang in the book. I have never heard of "word" meaning agreement, I am very glad that Stephen learned that dares should not be blindly accepted. You can get hurt. I remembered that when I was Stephen's age, I was very firm about not accepting dangerous dares.
This book was about a mixed kid named Stephen who lived in Brooklyn, New York. He had a Best friend named Dan, and he was white. Another friend of his, named Wes noticed he has been hanging with only white friends. Wes wanted him to hang more with him and his Black Friends. But that's not all, Stephen started to notice white strangers been looking at him differently. He told his dad what happened when the owner tried getting him into trouble and his white friend, Dan was standing right next to him and the owner didn't do anything to him. Stephen also wanted to be in his own lane. He realized that he cannot be in the same lane as his friends. This book has taught me how to stay in my lane. No one else's lane.