Look Both Ways

Authored by Jason Reynolds
Published by Knights Of

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From the first page, this book bounces along at the same pace as the kids bounce along the pavement. In ten, intertwined stories, Jasmine Jordan speaks like she walks, words rolling down her spine. Fatima collects data to keep herself safe. The Low Cuts steal pocket change for a very special reason. Pia stops for no one when she skates, and Bryson misses school to nurse his bruises. The children here pass each other in the hallway, and on the street, but only the reader follows each one for that short walk home, getting a real insight into their personality and life.

Jason Reynolds has created a wonderful collection that flows with rhythm and poetry while maintaining a narrative that keeps the reader wholly engaged. The children in this book deal with profound and severe issues such as homophobia and cancer in a parent, as well as fear of dogs and general anxiety, but their stories bounce along. There’s a lightness of touch which makes each revelation no less moving, but maintains a pace which prevents the tales seeming worthy or downbeat.

This book would be enjoyed by readers 11+ years or mature upper junior readers, who enjoy walking in another person’s shoes for a little while.