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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

By: Jason Reynolds

Illustrator: Alexander Nabaum

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.
Skateboarding.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
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.

ISBN: 9781481438285

JLG Release: Feb 2020


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Discrimination: Sexuality, Crime: Theft
Topics: Interpersonal relations , Schools , Social issues , Emotions and feelings , Friendship , Conduct of life , Short stories , Family life , Neighborhoods and communities , City and urban life

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Awards & Honors

2019 National Book Awards Finalist
Kirkus Best Books - 2019
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 2019
Horn Book Fanfare - 2019
SLJ Best Books - 2019
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
CSMCL Best Books - 2019
Coretta Scott King Author Book Award Honoree - 2020

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, Booklist*, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*

School Library Journal

Ten short stories paint a picture of what happens one particular afternoon after the dismissal bell at Latimer Middle School. Each tale focuses on one student or group of friends. The magic of this book is Reynolds’s ability to weave the same teachers and various students in and out of the ten stories. Students after school swirl and eddy. Ms. Po Ten short stories paint a picture of what happens one particular afternoon after the dismissal bell at Latimer Middle School. Each tale focuses on one student or group of friends. The magic of this book is Reynolds’s ability to weave the same teachers and various students in and out of the ten stories. Students after school swirl and eddy. Ms. Post the crossing guard helps everyone cross the street while her son looks on from his spot by the stop sign; Ms. Wockley, the principal, stands in the hall yelling at students; and Ms. CeeCee sells penny candy from her house. Some backstory in each piece puts the characters’ actions into perspective, with each entry ending with a bit of a surprise. The very last one ends where the first one begins, with a mythical flying school bus. Poetic language is used throughout to help distinguish one character from the next. The perfect book to hand to reluctant middle grade readers, who will relate to the hectic and uncertain lives of these characters.

Horn Book

Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust and water? boogers? Four friends hustle for change all day and maneu¬ver their capital into buying an urgently needed treat for one of their moms. Ty sprints to check on Bryson, wh Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust and water? boogers? Four friends hustle for change all day and maneu¬ver their capital into buying an urgently needed treat for one of their moms. Ty sprints to check on Bryson, who stayed home to recover from getting jumped the day before. Fatima manages the unpredictable by writing lists of things that don’t change and keeping track of things that do. Gregory’s friends spruce him up and hype him up as they walk him over to Sandra’s house so he can finally tell her he likes her. And Canton, the son of the crossing guard who got injured by a school bus a year ago, sits at his mom’s intersection doing his homework. Each short story is filled with the heart and humor for which Reynolds’s middle-grade and middle-school work (As Brave As You, rev. 7/16; the Track series) is known. The young characters cope with difficult problems, from stressed-out parents and aging grandparents to siblings they’ve lost to death or prison, but they are first and foremost ordinary, good kids. And all throughout their striving, surviving, laughing, and groundedness, they relate to one another and to readers in a way that captures the heart. Names, jokes, and details are cleverly and deeply woven between stories to show the interconnectedness of the characters’ world, while the individually distinct stories remind us that you never know what someone else is going through.

Book Details

ISBN

9781481438285

First Release

February 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

208

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.8; Points: 5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 750L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Discrimination: Sexuality, Crime: Theft

Topics

Interpersonal relations, Schools, Social issues, Emotions and feelings, Friendship, Conduct of life, Short stories, Family life, Neighborhoods and communities, City and urban life,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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