Torrey Maldonado - Author and Educator


Author    Educator

Torrey Maldonado - Author and Educator

What Lane?

Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Engaging, timely novel. . . . Maldonado (Tight) paints a vivid, relatable picture of an adventurous boy learning the rewards and dangers of straying out of his lane against the backdrop of an unfair system that could see him killed or arrested for the behaviors his white peers easily engage in. The characters are warmly realistic, by turns impulsive and regretful. In relatively few words, Maldonado elucidates matters related to racial profiling, police violence against black people, and allyship, all through the eyes of a brave kid trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In an NYC landscape deeply shaped by race, sixth grader Stephen struggles to speak his piece. . . . Maldonado pursues a story about biracial boyhood, healthy friendships, and self-discovery while gesturing toward the influence of social movements like Black Lives Matter in reshaping what accountable friendship looks like. Voiced in the creative language of NYC youth, the novel models what it means to embrace the power of self-awareness and relationships built on mutual respect. Bridges everyday racism and accountable allyship with sincerity.”

School Library Journal, starred review

“Maldonado depicts his young hero’s awakening to the ugly realities of contemporary American racism. Caught between his best friend Dan, and Dan’s racist cousin Chad; straddling the line between his overprotective, naive white mother and his realist, all-too-aware Black father; and doing his best to integrate his middle school friend group, biracial Stephen is finding it tricky to ‘stay wide in all lanes.’ . . . Maldonado uses a biracial adolescent boy’s perspective to draw his readers into an engaging story of identity and tough choices that will appeal to middle schoolers everywhere. An ideal choice for school book clubs and advisory.”


“STAY IN YOUR LANE.” Stephen doesn’t want to hear that–he wants to have no lane.

Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn’t think it’s his lane, but he goes. Here’s the thing, though: Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he’s not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he’s living in two worlds with different rules–and he’s been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends…

So what’ll he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his–and who should be with him.

Torrey Maldonado, author of the highly acclaimed Tight, does a masterful job showing a young boy coming of age in a racially split world, trying to blaze a way to be his best self.

Torrey Maldonado in The New York Times

New York Times included WHAT LANE? 
in a roundup of 14 Best Anti-Racist Books Now.

Torrey Maldonado's book What Lane? in Oprah Daily
In, bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson highlights WHAT LANE? as an Essential Book for Discussing Racism with Kids. She says, ‘For anyone who’s ever been told to ‘stay in your lane,’ Maldonado’s poignant tale is sure to resonate… a wondrous coming-of-age story about blazing one’s own path.”

What Lane? in the press

  • Listen to Matthew Winner’s interview with Torrey Maldonado on The Children’s Book Podcast. Host Matthew Winner asks, “How does [Maldonado] put this amazing amount of story and complexity into 120 pages? It’s glorious.”
  • Read Mr. Schu Q&A with Torrey during which WHAT LANE? is described as “short and perfectly paced.”
  • Time Out New York includes WHAT LANE? in a roundup of “Kids’ books about race that celebrate diversity and inclusion.”
  • WHAT LANE? featured in Book Riot as A Best Anti-Racist Book to Help Young Reader Challenge White Supremacy
  • Read Betsy Bird’s Q&A with Torrey Maldonado for her School Library Journal (132.5k UVPM) blog to talk about WHAT LANE?, which she described as “a book with three starred reviews and a finger firmly on the pulse of the nation right now.”
  • Torrey Maldonado featured on the cover of Story Monsters Ink July issue.