2018 Beatty Award Announced: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

The Beatty Award Committee has just announced the 2018 winner. Congratulations to Dashka Slater! We are excited that this selection is also a 2018 Book to Action title, selected as part of the #BookToAction series hosted by the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries. The Book to Action program in San Luis Obispo is coordinated by librarians Erica Thatcher and Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer, in partnership with Transitions Mental Health Association, Central Coast Coalition for Inclusive Schools, Restorative Partners, and local high schools. 

Beatty Award winners are featured as official selections from California at the Library of Congress Center for the Book Pavilion of the States during the annual National Book Festival in Washington D.C. Details about the #BookToAction author event in San Luis Obispo County and the Beatty Award official press release are below. More info about the Beatty Award can be found here.

Author Event – Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – 5:30 PM at the Atascadero Library.
Join award-winning author Dashka Slater and a community panel to discuss the true, heart-breaking story of two Bay Area teens, whose encounter on the 57 bus line in Oakland changed their lives, and its implications locally and in the broader world.  Local panelists include Amy Waddle of Transitions Mental Health Association; Kristen Kent from Central Coast Coalition for Inclusive Schools; Olivia Lopes from Restorative Partners; San Luis Obispo High School student Lane Stephens; and Atascadero High School student Peter Kay.  Funded by the California Center for the Book, the Friends of the SLO Library, and the Sarah W. Day Memorial Fund.

Press Release

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two teenagers and The Crime That Changed Their Livesby 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.

This is a remarkable book about a real incident that occurred in Oakland in 2013 and how it affected the lives of the victim Sasha, the perpetrator Richard, their families and their friends, and the community. 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. The author tells the story of the initial incident and its aftermath including hospitalizations and trials. In 2013 when the initial event of the book takes place Sasha and Richard lived very different lives. Sasha, from a middle class family, was a student at small private Maybeck High and Richard, from an economically challenged neighborhood, was a student at large public Oakland High School. Not only did they attend different schools and live in very different neighborhoods, Sasha is white and identifies as agender and Richard is black. The book discusses in great detail the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system in California. Because of the severity of Sasha’s injuries and their gender identification, Richard is charged with hate crimes as an adult. Both families seek compassion. But most importantly, the book discusses gender in a way that clarifies all the non-binary terms that are so common today and hate crimes as they relate to gender. The 57 Busis 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 Boxand another non-fiction book, Lights, Camera, Alcatraz: Hollywood’s View of an American Landmark. Ms. Slater has also written articles that have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Mother Jones and New York Times Magazine.

Beatty Award Contact:
Joy Sage
2018 Beatty Award Committee Chair