The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award.
The committee found this to be a remarkable book about a real incident that occurred in Oakland in 2013. Teenagers Sasha and Richard were on the same city bus going home from their respective schools when Richard set fire to Sasha’s skirt on a dare. What follows is a story of how the incident and its aftermath, including hospitalizations and trials, affected the lives of not only Sasha and Richard, but their families, their friends, and the community. The book also goes into great detail about the criminal and juvenile justice system in California, and discusses hate crimes as they relate to gender. The 57 Bus is a true story that holds the reader’s interest because of the wealth of facts and detailed interviews with real people intimately involved in the event and its aftermath.
After being told she won the award, Ms. Slater was excited and speechless. She said “Two of my favorite things in the world are California and libraries, so it makes me particularly proud that California librarians chose The 57 Bus as a book that tells the California story. Stories help us shape our future and understand our past and I — like all readers and writers — am indebted to libraries for giving me the stories I needed throughout my life. I’m so grateful to the 2018 Beatty Committee for honoring me with this award and for giving me a page of my own in the diverse and beautiful volume that is California literature.”
Dashka Slater is the author of several picture books, the adult novel The Wishing Box and another non-fiction book, Lights, Camera, Alcatraz: Hollywood’s View of an American Landmark. www.cla-net.org/?page=113