145th Street: Short Stories

by Walter Dean Myers

Each of these ten stories is set on 145th street in Harlem. Together, they portray... read more

Each of these ten stories is set on 145th street in Harlem. Together, they portray a neighborhood teeming with life at its funniest, saddest, most tragic, and most celebratory. In short, 145th street is a very human place. As with any neighborhood where there is a sense of community, the inhabitants watch each other and watch out for each other. They gossip, bear witness, battle, judge, support, defend, and embrace. Big Joe throws his own funeral so he can enjoy the party. The unnamed narrator of “The Baddest Dog in Harlem” stumbles onto a scene of senseless and brutal death. Young Angela Luz Colón, who starts to have prophetic dreams after her father dies, learns that it is best to keep silent about them. Officer William Michael O’Brien, a white cop from Staten Island, is hesitant to accept the friendship of Mother Fletcher, an aging Black woman who lives on his Harlem beat, until his wife and daughter shame him into opening his heart. These and other characters in the stories of 145th Street come to life on these pages, speaking in voices that young adults will recognize, sharing experiences at once distinct and universal in the emotions they convey. The stories are diverse in content, tone, and style, broadening the potential use and appeal of the collection as a whole (and almost guaranteeing that not every story will be wholly embraced). Winner, CCBC 2001 Coretta Scott King Author Discussion (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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