The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, Written by Dashka Slater Farrar

Publisher’s Summary:
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

Primary Source Pairing:
Sasha loves the public transit system. The 57 bus took them to and from high school. The 57 bus is their gateway to the city. It was on this bus that another high school student made a poor choice that significantly changed both of their lives. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study the transit map for the 57 bus in Oakland, CA. If students take public transit themselves, invite them to do a primary source analysis comparison and identify similarities and differences between the 57 bus map and their own public transit route.

As the instructional setting allows, increase the inquiry of the analysis of this map and cut it into equal pieces. (For larger student groups, use multiple copies of the map.) Give students a piece of the map and invite them to analyze the piece without seeing the whole. After analysis, instruct students to work together to put the map back together. Complete the analysis process again and discuss the two learning experiences. Connect the discussion back to the book and the role the 57 bus played in Sasha’s story.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What size and shape is the map?
  • What graphical elements do you see?
  • What on the map looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • What questions do you have about this map?
  • What connections can you make from this map to the book The 57 Bus?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
57 Bus Transit Map:

Additional Reading:
“The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland” By