92 pages 3 hours read

Dashka Slater

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime that Changed Their Lives (2017)

Nonfiction | Book | YA | Published in 2017

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Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

“Taking The 57 Bus to the Intersection of Gender and Racial Identity”

Emulating the mixed media narrative style of The 57 Bus, students tell the story of a Black trans individual of their choice to deepen their understanding of the book’s messaging around gender and racial identity.

In The 57 Bus, one of the central tensions is that the two protagonists, Sasha and Richard, come from significantly different backgrounds. Sasha is a gender non-conforming white teen from a stable family, while Richard is a young Black man who comes from a socioeconomically disadvantaged, broken family. The author is careful not to paint Richard as the “villain” in The 57 Bus. Indeed, the author carefully outlines the struggles of both teens in the book, especially with regard to The Importance of Gender Identity and Racism and Bias in the American Criminal Justice System.

Consider, then, the struggles of Black trans individuals. Like Sasha, they may be maligned because of their gender identity. Like Richard, they may also be less likely to find justice in the United States legal system, especially when it comes to being protected from violent crime.