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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

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Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

4.5/5 (24 Bewertungen)
151 Seiten
2 Stunden
Oct 8, 2019


A National Book Award Finalist!
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019

A Time Best Children’s Book of 2019
A Today Show Best Kids’ Book of 2019
A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
“As innovative as it is emotionally arresting.” —Entertainment Weekly

From National Book Award finalist and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all the different directions kids walks home can take.

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
But mostly, too busy walking home.

Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
Oct 8, 2019

Über den Autor

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. He’s also the 2020–2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include Stamped, When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Look Both Ways, and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at

Ähnlich wie Look Both Ways


Look Both Ways - Jason Reynolds

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds; Alexander Nabaum, Atheneum Books for Young Readers

For Eloise Greenfield


THIS STORY was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky.

But no one saw it happen. No one heard anything. So instead, this story will begin like all the… good ones.

With boogers.

If you don’t get all them nasty, half-baked goblins out your nose, I promise I’m not walking home with you. I’m not playin’. Jasmine Jordan said this like she said most things—with her whole body. Like the words weren’t just coming out of her mouth but were also rolling down her spine. She said it like she meant it. Said it with the same don’t play with me tone her mother used whenever she was trying to talk to Jasmine about something important for her real life, and Jasmine turned the music up in her ears real loud to drown her mother out, and scroll on, scroll on. If you don’t take them earbugs… earbuds… airphones, or whatever they called out of your coconut head it’s gon’ be me turning up the volume and the bass, and I ain’t talking about no music.

That tone.

Jasmine’s booger-removal warning was aimed at her stuffy-nosed best friend, Terrence Jumper. TJ. Well, Jasmine called him her best friend who’s a boy, but she didn’t have best friends who were girls, so TJ was her best friend best friend. And she was his. Been like that for a long time. Since he moved onto Marston Street, three houses down from her. Since the only way their mothers would let them be walkers was if they walked together because they were the only kids who lived on their block. Since six years, so since forever.

The bell rang, and Jasmine and TJ had just left their last class for the day, the only class they had together. Life science with Mr. Fantana.

You been back to school for two days and you already starting with me? TJ spun the black lock dial confidently, like he could feel the difference in the grooves and would know when he landed on the right numbers.

How could I not? Look at them things. Honestly, TJ, I’on’t even know how you breathing right now, Jasmine continued. Their lockers were right next to each other, luckily, because Jasmine, unlike TJ, turned her lock with an intense concentration, glaring at it as if the combination could up and change at any second, or as if her fingers might stop working at any moment. And if for some strange reason either of those things happened, at least she knew TJ was right there to help.

TJ shrugged, tossing his science book onto the floor of the metal closet, the smell of feet wafting up from it like a cloud of dust, unsettled. And unsettling. The floor of his locker was littered with empty snack bags that Jasmine had slid through the door vent between classes over the last two days. Trash… yes. But Jasmine and TJ called them friendship flags. The litter of love. And because Jasmine had been gone for a while, they were basically notes that said I’ve missed you. In Cheeto dust. Then, finally, with the hardened snot like tiny stones rolled in front of the entrances of his nose, TJ turned the bottom of his shirt up and mopped it. A streak of slime smeared across his lip as he swiped and pinched and dug just enough for it to count as a dig, but not enough for it to count as diggin’.

TJ tilted his face upward so Jasmine could get a clear line of sight into his nostrils. Better? he asked, half sincere, half hoping there was one more booger left and that it was somehow making a mean face at Jasmine.

Jasmine stared into TJ’s nose like she was peering through a brown microscope of flesh, and she did this totally unfazed by the fact that TJ had just used his T-shirt—the one he was wearing—as a tissue. And why would she be bothered? Not that it wasn’t disgusting (it was), but she’d known him a long time. Had seen him do things that made boogers on the bottom of a T-shirt seem like nothing more than added decoration. Booger bedazzle. A little flavor for his fashion. Had seen him use his fingers to pick gum off the bottom of his sneakers (and hers), and of course nothing would ever beat the time he clapped a mosquito dead right when it had bitten him, then licked the fly slime off his arm. That one Jasmine had dared him to do. Paid him a dollar for it. Worth it, for both of them.

Y’know, I can see straight through to your brain, Jasmine said, pretending to still be examining. And it turns out, there’s a whole lot of it missing. She plucked TJ’s nose. "Sike, sike, sike, sike. Nah, you good. I guess I can be seen with you now."

Whatever. Locker slam. I mean, we all boogers anyway.

"You might be a booger. Locker slam. But me, I ain’t no booger."

That’s what you think, TJ went on as they swapped backpacks. His was light. Jasmine’s was packed with every class’s textbook and all the world’s notebooks. Makeup work. She could’ve carried it herself, but TJ was concerned about her back, about her muscles, because she was still recovering from the attack.

They headed down the crowded corridor, noisy with sneaker squeaks and thick with end-of-day funk. See, I’ve been thinking about this. Boogers ain’t nothing but water mixed with, like, dust and particles in the air and stuff like that—

How you know? Jasmine interrupted. Knowing TJ, he could’ve heard this anywhere, like from Cynthia Sower—everybody called her Say-So—who jokes 99.99999 percent of the time.

Looked it up online once, TJ explained. Was trying to figure out why they so salty.

Wait. Jasmine thrust a hand up, as if walling off the rest of TJ’s words. "You eat them?"

Come on, Jasmine. It ain’t fair to hold my past against me. Dang. TJ shook his head. Now, if you done interrupting, let me continue with my hypothesis. He broke hypothesis down into four fragmented words to put some spice on it. High-Poth-Uh-Sis. So, boogers are basically water and dust. He put a finger in the air. And human beings are mostly water, right? Ain’t that what Fantana said at the beginning of the year?


Okay, follow me. Every Sunday when we be at church, they always be talking about how God made us out of dust, right? TJ and Jasmine went to the same church, where they sang in the youth choir together. TJ always asked Mrs. Bronson, the choir director, to let him sing solos even though his voice was all over the place. A set of wind chimes in a hurricane. And Jasmine’s singing wasn’t much better. Only difference was she knew it and would never think to ask for a solo. She loved to wear the graduation robes and harmonize and sway and clap, snuggling her voice into the others like drawer into dresser. Her mother always told her, Holding a note is talent enough.

Even though TJ couldn’t hold a note—that definitely wasn’t his talent—he could hold a conversation. So he continued. God making man from dust and blowing breath into his nostrils and all that, right?

I… guess.

You think God breath stank?


Never mind. Probably not. TJ got himself back on track. So, if God made man from dust, and now, for some reason, man—

And woman, Jasmine tacked on.

"Yeah, and woman… consist of mostly water, then basically, we water and dust, right? TJ was waving his hands around like he was drawing some grand equation on an invisible board. Jasmine didn’t say nothing, and she didn’t need to for TJ to bring his theory home. Which means… , TJ concluded, and Jasmine could practically see the drumroll behind his eyes, we all basically… boogers."

TJ wore satisfaction on his face like good lotion, and Jasmine wore confusion on hers like she’d been slapped with a gluey palm.

Wrong, she clapped back.

You ain’t gotta believe me, TJ said, holding the door for Jasmine as they finally made it out of the building.

Oh, I don’t.

You don’t have to, TJ repeated. But that don’t mean it ain’t true. See, no matter what you think I be doing in school, I really be learning. And seriously, I need to start teaching because while all these so-called scientists and teachers like Mr. Fantana be busy trying to figure out if aliens are real, I’ve already figured out that boogers are like… the babiest form of babies!

This made Jasmine spit air. See, even though TJ was ridiculous and annoying and sometimes gross, she appreciated the fact that he always made her laugh whether she wanted to or not. Whether he was trying to or not. He was always there to chip some of the hard off. Tear at the toughness Jasmine had built up over the school year.

It had been a rough one for her.

It started with her parents separating and her father moving out. There was no drama around it. No fighting. Nothing ugly. Nothing like the movies. At least not that she knew of. Just a really uncomfortable conversation at the kitchen table with her folks looking at her like she was an exotic fish in a sandwich bag, darting back and forth, while she squirmed in her seat as if her skin were too tight for her body.

We love you very much.

It’s not your fault.

Sometimes relationships change.

Sometimes people are better apart.

None of this is your fault.

Your father and I love you very much.

Your mother and I love you very much.

Actually, that part was just like the movies. Especially the ones about girls her age. The kitchen-table conference. The follow-up knock-knock on the bedroom door. The kid cussing at the dad. The mom saying, Language! The weekend visits. The awkwardness of both parents asking if everything is all right,

over and over and over and over and over and over again.

And that was just the first quarter. That was before she had her worst attack. And not an attack

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24 Bewertungen / 12 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    loved it. it's very amusing and it's humorous too. nice
  • (4/5)
    Ten short stories about the after-school activities of ten groups of kids walking to ten different city blocks all served by the same middle school. Some of the stories in this 2020 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book made me cry.
  • (3/5)
    This book is a funny illustrated view at the end of a school day where different kids are wrapped in their own little worlds. Their stories are revealed and attract empathy from the reader. It is a book definitely directed towards a young audience, and could be used in a younger English class. It would be a fun refreshing read because of how the stories are broken up, and teaches a good lesson on understanding that everyone has problems and reasons for their behavior.
  • (3/5)
    This book is a collection of 10 stories linked by time and place. In each of 10 stories, kids You meet kids from the neighborhood and from their school day.The collection is said to be filled with, pathos, and the heroic struggle to grow up. I recognize Reynolds as a great writer, but his style just doesn’t appeal to this reader. I’m not a fan of magical realism which he inserts in the book.I read the first three stories and decided to move on.Ages 10-14
  • (4/5)
    Loved this. Only giving 4 stars because short stories always make me want more.
  • (5/5)
    This series of brief and poignant linked short stories, set in an African American neighborhood, smoothly and humorously shares how middle school boys and girls deal with: boys with crushes, girls with crushes, moms and dads, scary dogs, moms with cancer, scary teachers, crossing guard moms, weird school assignments, and best candy ladies. Some kids travel between the blocks and the cliques and some stand alone. Each character is realistically portrayed, and somehow they are all refreshingly clear of cell phones and social media. The blue-black illustrations are a bonus. The best story is one where a boy with a crush is taken in hand by his friend, who brings out all her lotions and unguents to deal with his ashiness but uh oh, what's the Vick's Vaporub doing there? Big fun here, a great read for old and young heads to enjoy together.
  • (3/5)
    In ten short stories, we meet a variety of kids who live within ten blocks of their school. The bobbing and weaving of the ten narratives, connecting to the whole. The neighborhood as touchstone. Characters flitting in and out throughout, like passing in the street or in the halls. Friendships felt authentic, tight.Richly metaphoric and descriptive language, humor and warmth.
  • (4/5)
    The bell rings. The school doors burst open. Students scatter in every direction. But what happens in that space between school and home? Jason Reynolds knows -- or imagines -- ten different answers in this book of loosely connected stories.There's plenty of heart here, and humor. Kids will see themselves in this book, and that's fantastic, and makes it worth purchasing and recommending. But for me, I wanted things to come together somehow in the end, and they just didn't. I think it's the nature of short stories -- I wanted more from all of them. If you enjoy short stories about funny, diverse, complicated kids, this is a book worth perusing.
  • (5/5)
    Seriously, Jason Reynolds can do no wrong. Every book is a freaking masterpiece. Ten blocks. Ten stories. Ten more reasons to fall in love with Jason Reynolds. School may end when the bell rings, but that's when these stories start. Kids talking about boogers, trying to steal change, skateboard home, write the best jokes, plan escape routes, face their fears, and stand up to bullies. Each story is different, but little pieces from one story may end up in another, and another, and another and together they tell a bigger story; the story of how a group of students, a few blocks in the city, and the vivacity of youth can weave together the brightest community. Loved it!
  • (5/5)
    *E-ARC received from Edelweiss/Above the Treeline in exchange for an honest review. No money or other goods were exchanged, and all views are my own.*Ten blocks - and ten tales revolving around teens who live on those streets - give you a kaleidoscopic mosaic of one neighborhood, one school and the many lives that intersect.Jason Reynolds is fast becoming one of my favorite current writers for middle grade and teen readers. He has a way as an author of just presenting a story without judgment, a way of telling his readers he hears them and leaving them to make their own tough decisions. This book is one of the more complex of his - heck, of most books for this age group - that I've read, and I feel like I have to reread it to fully do it justice. The repeated motif of a school bus falling from the sky makes absolutely no sense until the end, for example. And there are so many characters whose lives intersect that I want to make sure I catch all the nuances and references. Excellent writing that will appeal to a wide age range.
  • (5/5)
    How a simple walk home from school can define you
  • (4/5)
    What a great book for elementary and middle grade students! Ten stories, ten walks home from school. Each connected in some way (school bus falling from the sky?). We never really know anyone until we walk in their shoes—and this book is a way to do that. Aside from the wonderful storytelling, I do lament the loss of copyeditors. On page 8, a sentence is broken in the wrong way. On page 10, there are no beginning quotation marks. Let's invest in the excellence of books once again and hire some proofreaders!But those minor typos do not detract from this book and its marvelous images:*His voice was a "set of wind chimes in a hurricane"*"looking at her like she was an exotic fish in a sandwich bag"*"every house looked like the last house, like a choir of homes dressed in the same robes"My favorite story, the one that made me cry? "The Low Cuts Strike Again"Jason Reynolds, your voice rings true.