December 22, 2021
12,000 Students Explore Resilience Through One Book Baltimore
Annual program connects thousands of students around reading the same book
To love reading is to explore new worlds, experiences, and stories… to dive into inspiring perspectives you can relate to and learn from…and to develop language skills in a way that is fun and engaging. When students read, they grow academically and social-emotionally — whether tied directly to curriculum or not.
The One Book Baltimore program fosters that love of reading by engaging more than 12,000 7th and 8th grade students, their families, and community members each year around reading the same book. This year’s book is Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles - a story of resilience, a teenager’s navigation of romance, her family’s difficult past, and reaching her goals.
As Dr. Amy Rosenkrans, social studies teacher at Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School puts it, “One Book Baltimore is a fabulous way for students to interact with literature and each other about interesting topics that are pertinent to their lives. It gives them an opportunity to like and love books as well as interact with authors.”
Students across the district read the book and participated in a variety of collaborative projects such as book club style discussions and student-led art projects inspired by sections of the book. Earlier this month, Tami Charles visited five city schools — Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle, Mount Washington Elementary, Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights, Joseph C. Briscoe Academy, and City Springs Elementary — where she engaged with hundreds of students in person. Ms Charles answered questions and discussed the topics in the book such as resilience, the importance of mentors, following your dreams, and family.
Students clearly were inspired. In a virtual panel with students and acclaimed actress, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen (who was an inspiration in the book), Tami Charles gave advice to those hoping to become writers: “To be a writer, writers must write! But you have to read too. My job as a writer is to really devour as many books in as many genres as I can. Every single day, get in the chair and write!” Check out the full panel, here.
In February, the One Book Baltimore program will culminate with a showcase at the Pratt Library. The event will feature students’ creative works - poems, illustrations, songs, essays and more - inspired by their interpretations and inspirations from Becoming Beatriz.
One Book Baltimore is made possible through the efforts and contributions of Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore Ceasefire, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Johns Hopkins University, Arts & Minds Labs, Maryland Humanities, and the T. Rowe Price Foundation. These efforts are further supported and amplified by the partnerships with Barnes & Noble, the Maryland Book Bank, CityLit Project, Wombwork, and others.
To learn more about One Book Baltimore, visit https://sites.google.com/bcps.k12.md.us/one-book-baltimore/home. To find a full calendar of remaining One Book Baltimore events, visit https://www.prattlibrary.org/one-book-baltimore.