A new city-wide initiative to provide Baltimore city students, families and community members a way to connect through reading the same book kicks off this weekend with "One Book Baltimore" the Enoch Pratt Free Library announced Friday.
This year's book is Nic Stone's "Dear Martin." The campaign starts Sunday at 2 p.m. during the Baltimore Book Festival, located at the Inner Harbor. Baltimore City Public School students in seventh and eighth grade will receive free copies of the book, and additional copies are available for check-out at all Enoch Pratt Library locations. Throughout the fall, discussions and programs are planned across the city to focus on the book's theme's of peace and anti-violence.
"Dear Martin" tells the story of Justyce McAllister, a senior in high school who grapples with issues of race and identity through journal entries he rights to Dr. Martin Luther King. The book was chosen after the library collected input from students, teachers, librarians, and other Baltimore community members.
The hope is reading this engaging, gritty novel will help residents and readers engage in meaningful dialogue about their experiences and challenges, the library said. The initiative for the program immerged through conversations had following the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.
“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 when she heard her book would be part of the One Book Baltimore program. "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.”