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Publisher's Summary

"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.

©2020 Torrey Maldonado (P)2020 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

 "In an NYC landscape deeply shaped by race, sixth grader Stephen struggles to speak his piece.... Maldonado pursues a story about biracial boyhood, healthy friendships, and self-discovery while gesturing toward the influence of social movements like Black Lives Matter in reshaping what accountable friendship looks like. Voiced in the creative language of NYC youth, the novel models what it means to embrace the power of self-awareness and relationships built on mutual respect. Bridges everyday racism and accountable allyship with sincerity." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Engaging, timely novel.... 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." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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  • Ashindi Maxton
  • 02-07-2020

Perfect read for the times in which we live.

I highly recommend this book for parents and culturally responsive teachers of junior high.

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  • Concerned Parent
  • 05-12-2020

Mindless Drivel

My daughter's fifth-grade class was assigned this text. In a word, the book is ridiculous. How it has received such high reviews is astounding. No child should be forced to read this nonsense. Not only is the grammar and syntax atrocious, but the book is replete with stereotypes and racist tropes. The main character's dialogue consists of broken English and slang. The Black father of the main character only speaks "properly" when he is mocking the boy's white mother. There are nods to BLM, and the clear narrative is that police are racist, the shop owners are racist; basically, anyone in authority is racist. Don't waste your time on this garbage.

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