On the Same Page: The 57 Bus

May - June 2018
book coverThe 57 Bus: a True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed their Lives
Dashka Slater

Dashka Slater’s new book takes us on an exploration of gender identity, adolescent crime and penal racism. Sasha, a white Oakland teen with Asperger’s Syndrome, enjoyed a tight circle of friends. Encouraged by parents who support self-expression, Sasha identifies as genderqueer. Richard, a Black teen also from Oakland, was always goofing around at a high school where roughly one-third of the students failed to graduate. Within a few short years, his friends would be pregnant, in jail or shot dead, but Richard tried to stay out of real trouble. One fateful day, while Sasha is asleep on the 57 bus, a friend of Richard’s hands him a lighter, he lights Sasha’s skirt on fire. A single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. Slater does a masterful job debunking the myths of the hate-crime monster and the African-American thug.

About the Author

Dashka Slater
Dashka Slater has written many books, including Baby Shoes, The Sea Serpent and Me, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection, Escargot, and Dangerously Ever After. She is also an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, The New York Times Magazine, and Mother Jones.

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