torrey maldonado
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  Torrey Maldonado
Torrey Maldonado

Torrey Maldonado is the author of three critically acclaimed middle grade books whose popularity stretches into younger and high school grades. His recent title, What Lane?,won starred reviews and the Oprah magazine, NY Times, and more have listed it as an essential antiracist book to discuss daily racism and allyship. Born and raised in Brooklyn NY’s Red Hook projects that Life magazine called “One of the Worst U.S. neighborhoods,” he hated reading. No, he hated required schoolbooks that seemed to hate him and those around him. Overcoming failing, culturally unresponsive schools plus neighborhood hardships, he grew to graduate Vassar College and earn a Masters in Educational Administration from Baruch College. Voted a "Top 10 Latino Author" & best Black Middle Grade & Young Adult novelist, his writing is inspired by his and his students’ lives where he has taught for nearly twenty-five years. NYC’s former Chancellors have praised him as a top teacher and culturally responsive author whose stories are current, authentic, & universal. Email or learn more at Connect on Instagram and Twitter @torreymaldonado


Q: Why do you write?
The world of storytelling is a superhero lair. Life magazine ran a nine-page photo of the Brooklyn housing projects where I was born and raised. Life called us “The Crack Capital of the U.S.” and “One of the Ten Worst Neighborhoods in the Country”. As a boy, the best stories were my fortress of solitude and reading and writing were Captain America’s “Super Soldier Serum”. They transformed me from at-risk into writing and teaching to help young people see that they are heroic in many ways and can be their own type of real-world hero.

Q: If you had 30 seconds to tell someone about your books, what would you say?
A: Betsy Bird, a great SLJ librarian, describes What Lane? as “It's quick, thin and there’s not a drop of excess anywhere”. She adds, “I feel like it is a natural companion to our Newbery winner NEW KID”. That comics and graphic novel energy is all of my writing. In each book you find a Black or Brown boy protagonist and diverse cast. Every book helps kids analyze behavior and gives them words to name feelings and space to discuss tough topics in fun ways. And you'll get Brooklyn stories never before told.