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Community Organizations Launch ‘One Book Baltimore’ Initiative Citywide

10/26/2018, 6 a.m.
More than 10 local organizations have come together to collaborate on “One Book Baltimore,” a new citywide initiative designed to ...
“Dear Martin” was chosen this year’s “One Book Baltimore,” a citywide initiative designed to promote literacy and community discussion. Courtesy Photo

— More than 10 local organizations have come together to collaborate on “One Book Baltimore,” a new citywide initiative designed to provide opportunities for students, families and community members to connect through literature by reading the same book.

This year’s book is “Dear Martin” by Nic Stone. Launched at the Baltimore Book Festival last month, discussions and programming will be held across the city focused on the initiative’s themes of peace and anti-violence. Baltimore City Public Schools 7th and 8th-grade students will receive free copies of the book, and additional copies are available for check-out at all Enoch Pratt Free Library locations.

“Dear Martin’ follows its protagonist, Justyce McAllister, a young black teen, through his senior year of high school as he grapples with issues of race and identity through a series of journal entries addressed to Dr. Martin Luther King. The book was selected with input from students, teachers, librarians, and other Baltimore community members. By choosing a gritty narrative that explicitly deals with peace, anti-violence, and racial equity, One Book Baltimore’s collaborators hope that individuals may engage in meaningful open dialogue about their experiences and the challenges facing our communities, and that they may ultimately see a new path for themselves.

“To know that children— and adults— across the City of Baltimore will be reading and engaging with Dear Martin is an honor beyond measure, said author Nic Stone, about her book being a part of the One Book Baltimore initiative. “It is my deepest hope that slipping into Justyce’s shoes will open eyes and minds in a way that will move the world we inhabit a bit closer to that of Dr. King’s Dream.”

The idea for this initiative emerged from conversations among several local leaders in the wake of the social unrest in Baltimore that followed the death of Freddie Gray.

“We saw that other cities had used family literacy efforts to bring communities together and foster meaningful conversation,” said John Brothers, president of the T. Rowe Price Foundation.

Special programs tied to the book and themes of peace and anti-violence are scheduled through out the fall at Pratt Library locations across the city, including: community discussions about Dear Martin led by the Pratt’s Community Youth Corps, and a collaboration with the Media Rhythm Institute. There will be series of One Book Baltimore activities at every Pratt Library location during the Baltimore Ceasefire weekend scheduled for November 2-4, 2018.

Stone return to Baltimore to talk with City School’s students and for a discussion at the Pratt’s Northwood branch on Wednesday, December 12. Additional details on One Book Baltimore programming will be posted at www.prattlibrary.org/onebook.

One Book Baltimore, is a collaboration among the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore Ceasefire 365, Maryland Humanities, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Maryland Book Bank, First Book, CityLit Project, WBAL-TV, the T. Rowe Price Foundation and others.