A National Book Award Finalist!
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Time Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Today Show Best Kids’ Book of 2019
A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
“As innovative as it is emotionally arresting.” —Entertainment Weekly
From National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all the different directions kids’ walks home can take.
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—
Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
But mostly, too busy walking home.
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Each of Jason Reynolds’ 10 overlapping stories follows a middle schooler taking a different route home after the last bell rings: A girl writes jokes for her grandfather with dementia. Four friends hustle for money to buy ice cream. A boy gets a makeover from his friends before working up the courage to talk to his crush. Reynolds, the best-selling author of Ghost and All American Boys, is known for taking on tough topics with a light touch. In Look Both Ways, he tackles poverty, sexual identity, mental illness, and absent parents, but moments of seriousness are balanced with plenty of humor. Like middle-school kids, his stories are funny, thoughtful, a little awkward, and ultimately full of heart.
Reynolds (the Track series) packs the 10 blocks surrounding multiple schools with 10 relatable slice-of-life stories that start after school ends, each beginning with a black-and-white drawing by Nabaum. An overlapping cast of black characters populates the tales as they experience the tribulations of familial love ("Ookabooka Land"), fears ("Satchmo's Master Plan"), first crushes ("How a Boy Becomes a Grease Fire"), near-death experiences ("The Broom Dog"), and more. Among the most memorable of these stories are "The Low Cuts Strike Again," about a group of free-lunch students who are all children of cancer survivors (and rock low-cut haircuts in solidarity); "Skitter Hitter," about Pia Foster, skateboarder extraordinaire, her deceased expert skateboarder sister Santi, and the boys who bully them about their skill; and "Call of Duty," which portrays one hopeful, compassionate outcome of standing up against homophobic bullying. In Reynolds's signature style, each story rings with emotional authenticity and empathy, and not a small amount of rib-tickling humor offsets the sometimes bittersweet realities of the characters' lives. Ages 10 14.