57 Bus Author, Dashka Slater
Our grown-up book club is sponsoring a fantastic discussion with Author Dashka Slater! If you are part of our grown-up book club, would like become a part of it or just want to meet this author, please come! If you have you own book club, you are welcome to join as well...please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of people in your group.
You may know Dashka from her children's picture books or you might have heard her on NPR last month discussing this incredible new non-fiction young adult and adult work, The 57 Bus.
The 57 Bus started out as an article for the New York Times Magazine. Slater says that the whole time she was working on the article, she was also fantasizing about writing the story in a different way for a youg adult audience. It seemed clear to her that teens would find the characters compelling and she wanted them to have a chance to grapple with the complex issues that this story raises: Issues about either/or narratives, about race, gender, class, justice and forgiveness. Fortunately for Dashka and for us, her editor at FSG, Joy Peskin, read her article and immediately contacted Dashka’s agent to see if she would be interested in writing it as a book for teens.
On its surface, The 57 Bus is about two people from different worlds, both of whom live in Oakland, and a chance encounter on the 57 bus that left one (Sasha) severely burned and the other (Richard) facing criminal charges. The two protagonists in the book have very different experiences with race, gender and class. Though it raises many important questions, The 57 Bus offers no easy answers. The closest we get to an answer is restorative justice, posed as an alternative the the black and White, crime and punishment mentality that has too often marred our social justice system. Restorative justice, on the other hand, focuses on healing rather than punishing. In Oakland, restorative justice is used in public schools, as a way of reducing suspensions, and in some criminal cases to allow juveniles who complete the process to avoid criminal prosecution. The details of the process vary depending on the circumstance, but generally, the offender hears from the victim about the impacts of their crime and agrees to take measurable steps to repair the harm they have caused and rejoin the community with a clean slate.
Recommended for ADULTS ONLY! (No children may be present in the store during this event)