On Monday, author Dashka Slater spent the day and evening speaking with parents, faculty members, and students. All faculty members and Grade 8 students recently read her thought-provoking book, The 57 Bus.
The 57 Bus is a: riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, punishment, and tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.
Best-selling author Dashka Slater has been telling stories since she could talk. An award-winning journalist who writes for such publications as The New York Times Magazine and Mother Jones, she is also the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.
Her New York Times bestselling true crime narrative, The 57 Bus has received numerous accolades, including the 2018 Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and the 2018 Beatty Award from the California Library Association. It was a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalist, an LA Times Book Award Finalist, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Young Adult Book of the Year, in addition to receiving four starred reviews and being named to more than 18 separate lists of the year’s best books, including ones compiled by the Washington Post, the New York Public Library, and School Library Journal.
Highlights of her visit included:
-A small group of Grade 8 students had lunch with Ms. Slater and were able to ask in-depth questions about: the writing process, interviewing people for the story, being unbiased as a writer, specific content choices, many other aspects about the book.
-With the Grade 8 students, Ms. Slater often created a back and forth discussion, engaging with our girls, as they shared their viewpoints on how the book was written.
-Ms. Slater led a conversation about the power of restorative justice with Hamlin faculty members.
-Ms. Slater explained how she sought to tell the “whole story,” for both the victim and the perpetrator, asking the reader to hold both stories at once.
-Ms. Slater cited that 1 and 250 people are transgender, about 1 million Americans, adding that 77% of transgender youth have been harassed at school.
-Ms. Slater cited that between 2003 and 2013, African American juveniles were more than 4 times as likely to be incarcerated as white juveniles for the same crime.
-Ms. Slater shared that she was surprised and heartened by the level of compassion that the two families (victim and perpetrator) showed each other throughout the book-writing process.
To learn more about Dashka Slater and her book, please visit: https://www.dashkaslater.com/