“Lurched Forward and Stopped”: Last Stop on Market Street and Black Mobility

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This article examines the racialized productions of space in Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson’s 2015 picturebook Last Stop on Market Street, arguing that depictions of characters’ movements show how Black mobility constitutes a form of resistance to state circumscription. Language and illustrations both work to portray CJ and Nana’s environment as fundamentally flexible, often exceeding the confines of what appears to be possible. The geographies of their journey on a city bus privilege communication, alternative epistemologies, and the spatial transcendence of creativity over literalism. Yet, importantly, other realities also impact the way characters move; the carceral regulation of Black people within the United States inevitably shadows this book’s spatial optimism, and Nana’s loving surveillance and careful direction shape the outlines of CJ’s imagination. To move while Black, Market Street suggests, is to create new possibilities within the confines of limitations, the process of motion a continual and unsettled oscillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-465
Number of pages15
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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