Author: Maldonado, Torrey
Biracial sixth-grader Stephen questions the limitations society puts on him after he notices the way strangers treat him when he hangs out with his white friends and learns about the Black Lives Matter movement.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 509626
School Library Journal (+) (00/04/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 Gr 5–8—Taking his title from a fictional baller's mantra, Maldonado depicts his young hero's awakening to the ugly realities of contemporary American racism. Caught between his best friend Dan, and Dan's racist cousin Chad; straddling the line between his overprotective, naive white mother and his realist, all-too-aware Black father; and doing his best to integrate his middle school friend group, biracial Stephen is finding it tricky to "stay wide in all lanes." With his mother unwilling to admit the real perils her Black son faces outside their home, Stephen nonetheless discovers the Black Lives Matter movement at his school, and begins processing the insidious racism that he faces daily. Whether he's handling daily interactions with local shopkeepers, or with the passersby on the street when he is fake fighting his white best friend, or dealing with the escalating aggression of Chad's racist behavior, Stephen manages to avoid being pushed into one narrow, race-defined path. Popular with kids of all backgrounds, Stephen works to make his friends more accepting of each other, while making himself less susceptible to the sometimes irresponsible whims of his classmates. VERDICT Maldonado uses a biracial adolescent boy's perspective to draw his readers into an engaging story of identity and tough choices that will appeal to middle schoolers everywhere. An ideal choice for school book clubs and advisory.—Jane Barrer, United Nations International School, New York City - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2020 Mixed-race sixth-grader Stephen loves comic books, especially the new Spider-Man featuring Miles Morales, and he loves spending time in New York City with his friends Dan and Wes. But when Dan’s contentious cousin Chad moves nearby and joins their group, the newcomer’s dislike for Stephen causes him to notice that some people treat him differently than they treat Dan, who is white. As Stephen discusses his feelings with his African American father, he learns about the Black Lives Matter movement and comes to realize that race will always affect people’s perceptions of him. Short chapters provide a fast pace for middle-grade readers. As Stephen, with the support of his parents, faces discrimination in an unfair world, Maldonado (Tight, 2018) explores race and coming of age through a story of boyhood friendships. The relationships between Stephen and his buddies hit home in their realism, presenting strong, positive bonds between the boys. A worthy addition to middle-grade collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.