About this item

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award -- Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Finalist

About the Author

Dashka Slater

When I was little, I liked to tell stories. Both of my parents are writers, and they used to read me stories, and tell me stories, and my mother even used to draw little picture books that were all about me. I started by telling stories to my mother, who wrote them down for me until I was old enough to write them down myself.

Every week I went to the library and checked out as many books as I could carry. Soon I began filling up notebooks writing my own stories. I sent some of what I wrote to the contests at the back of Cricket Magazine, and several of them were published there.

I began writing poetry when I was seven, and wrote more and more of it as I got older. In high school I took some classes at the local university with the the poet Lawson Inada who loaned me lots of books of poetry and told me that the best way to be a good writer was to read more than I wrote. That's some of the best advice anyone has ever given me.

I kept writing poetry, and won some contests and published some poems and generally got enough encouragement that I never thought of myself as anything other than a writer. After college I began writing for magazines and newspapers, and eventually learned enough about how to organize a narrative to write a novel called The Wishing Box, which was published in 2000 by Chronicle Books and named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times.

My son was born right around the same time, and so I was soon immersed in the world of children's books again, which had always been my first love. Like many parents, I had the urge to write some myself, and so I did. My first books, Baby Shoes and Firefighters in the Dark, were inspired by things my son was interested in. My third book, The Sea Serpent and Me, is based on a story I wrote when I was ten -- it will be released in 2008.

I have continued to write fiction for adults as well, and in 2004 received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which I used to work on a short story collection. I also continue to write articles for magazines -- you can find my journalism in places like Sierra, Mother Jones, and More.

I write every day, sometimes for children and sometimes for grown-ups, because telling stories is still my favorite thing to do.

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