Darius & Twig

by Walter Dean Myers

African American Darius dreams of getting out of his impoverished Harlem neighborhood... read more

African American Darius dreams of getting out of his impoverished Harlem neighborhood and into college, but his grades aren't scholarship material and a scholarship is the only hope he has. A talented writer, he has a story under consideration by a literary journal but they want him to rework it and he's not sure he wants to do so. Darius's best friend, Dominican American Twig, is in his first season on the track team, where his success is a surprise to almost everyone. But Darius knows how hard Twig works at running. Darius's mother cautions him to not take too much satisfaction in Twig's accomplishments, implying he shouldn't abandon his own dreams. Most of Darius and Twig's peers think the future holds nothing but unemployment and hanging out on the street, and the two boys feel like they get hassled for daring to want more. A purposeful novel reveals small scenes and big dramas in the lives of Darius and others in his community. Older adults disgusted by and sometimes quick to dismiss the troublemaking kids they see, the track coach's astonishingly racist thinking about Twig, the frustration of other teachers who want more for their students, and the daily struggle for economic survival of Darius's mom are all vividly revealed, as is the dramatic impact of violence. Racism, poverty and the danger of hopelessness are palpable, but so, too, is hope. Darius and Twig are two boys who in spite of challenges are learning to be, as Darius finally understands it, their best selves. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

show less