Turn The Page

A new citywide program uses books to start community conversations.

Nate Harold - December 2018

Turn The Page

A new citywide program uses books to start community conversations.

Nate Harold - December 2018

Jaylin Jones, second from left, Tarnerra Davis, far right, and other students reading Dear Martin. -Mitro Hood

Although our city’s slogan is no longer “The City That Reads,” a new literacy program is using one powerful story to bring local communities together.

One Book Baltimore—a collaboration between Baltimore City Public Schools, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore Ceasefire, and several other organizations—connects area students through a book club-style reading of author Nic Stone’s best-selling novel, Dear Martin. Stone kicked off the initiative during the Baltimore Book Festival in September with a discussion about her debut book, which follows the story of an Ivy League-bound, African-American student who becomes a victim of racial profiling.

The program started with the distribution of free copies of the novel to all Baltimore City Public Schools seventh- and eighth-graders and continued with free events such as youth conferences on social justice. Going forward, One Book Baltimore leaders hope that the story’s narrative surrounding race and identity will encourage young people to discuss their own experiences and challenges.

Tarnerra Davis, a junior at Carver Vocational-Technical High School, says she recognized parallels between some of the plot points in Dear Martin and the violence occurring in her own neighborhood.

Davis says the book empowered her to participate in a community discussion during one Baltimore Ceasefire weekend. “I’m into speaking out on certain things that are going on in the community if someone else isn’t going to,” she says.

To wrap up the program’s inaugural year, Stone will visit the Enoch Pratt Northwood library branch on December 12 for a discussion on the book’s racial equity and anti-violence themes.

“People don’t expect [teenagers] to speak up and be knowledgeable about these topics,” says Jaylin Jones, an eighth-grader at Southwest Baltimore Charter School. “Learning about it forwards us into being leaders on these topics and enables us to help other people understand them.”





You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

At Home in Nature

Liza Hathaway Matthews’ layered floral paintings have found their way into the world of textiles.

The Chatter

Baltimore Native André De Shields Wins First Tony Award

De Shields gave a shout-out to Charm City in his acceptance speech for his role in “Hadestown”

The Chatter

Veep Cast and Crew Reflect on Show’s Baltimore Legacy

The HBO series, which airs its finale Sunday, filmed in Baltimore for four years.


Arts & Culture

Music Reviews: June 2019

The latest from Abdu Ali and Kotic Couture.

Arts & Culture

True Blue

The fast times, hard luck, and rebirth of bluegrass in Baltimore.

MaxSpace

It’s Maryland Film Festival Time!

Here are some reviews to get you started.

Jaylin Jones, second from left, Tarnerra Davis, far right, and other students reading Dear Martin. -Mitro Hood

Connect With Us

Most Read


Adley Rutschman is the New Face of the Orioles Rebuild: Get to know the first pick of the O’s Moneyball era, who seems poised for greatness.

Culture Club: D. Watkins, TT The Artist’s New Doc, and Pride at Creative Alliance: Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.

Is the BSO Headed for a Lockout?: In recent weeks, the ongoing dispute between musicians and management has reached a tipping point over financial woes.

Baltimore Native André De Shields Wins First Tony Award: De Shields gave a shout-out to Charm City in his acceptance speech for his role in “Hadestown”

Enoch Pratt Brings Digital Resources to Local Laundromats: Wash and Learn Initiative aims to provide resources to those without regular Internet access