Clean Getaway

Crown. Jan. 2020. 240p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781984892973.
Gr 3-6– William Lamar is an 11-year-old black boy whose anger gets the better of him during an altercation with a school bully. Unfortunately for him, a teacher didn’t witness the bully’s behavior, so William is the one who gets in trouble. William is grounded and subjected to long-winded lectures about his responsibilities as a black boy. His previous involvement in a school cheating scandal doesn’t help matters. William knows that people view his actions differently because he’s black, but no one seems to want to listen to his side of the story. When his grandmother asks him to go on a road trip with her, William can’t wait to leave the solitary confines of his house to hit the road. William and his grandmother use the Green Book, an old-school guide that black people, and interracial couples like his grandparents, used for safe travel in the civil rights days. As they travel deeper into the South, William learns more about his family and the painful secrets that inspired his grandmother’s desire to take this journey. Stone has crafted a history lesson in road-trip form. The novel’s pace and length make it an ideal choice for reluctant readers.
VERDICT This lighthearted adventure story explores racial inequality and the complex nature of interracial relationships. This title is a good addition for school libraries seeking unconventional approaches to history.

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