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One Book Baltimore Returns for a Fourth Year

Tami Charles’ Becoming Beatriz Selected for 2021-2022 School Year

September 30, 2021

Baltimore, MD – One Book Baltimore returns for a fourth year featuring writer Tami Charles and her award-winning novel Becoming Beatriz, the story of Afro-Latina high-schooler Beatriz Mendez, who is traumatized by her brother's death and struggles with realizing her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

One Book Baltimore seeks to promote literacy for Baltimore City 7th and 8th graders, and facilitate a city-wide dialogue with their families and community members by reading the same book. For each of the past three years, more than 11,000 Baltimore City 7th and 8th graders attending more than 80 middle schools have received a copy of the One Book author’s book and hundreds of students have had the opportunity to meet the author in person at various sites or, this past year, virtually.

This year’s program will be launched with a virtual event on October 7 featuring Tami Charles. The conversation will be streamed to libraries and classrooms across the city.

WHAT: One Book Baltimore Launch 2021-2022

WHERE: Virtual, Pratt Library Facebook & YouTube pages

WHEN: Thursday, October 7, 10a.m.

WHO: One Book Baltimore writer Tami Charles in conversation with WBAL-TV 11’s Mindy Basara and Baltimore City 7th and 8th graders

Pioneered by the T. Rowe Price Foundation, One Book Baltimore is a collaboration between the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other community partners. Copies of Becoming Beatriz have been given to all City Schools 7th and 8th graders. In December, Charles will visit Baltimore classrooms to meet with students, discuss the book, and answer questions.

"In writing Becoming Beatriz, my goal was to inspire readers that your circumstances don't define your character,” says One Book writer Tami Charles, who was a teacher for 14 years before becoming a full-time author. “If you believe and work hard enough, even the most impossible dreams are a heartbeat away. It's an honor to have this story and its message selected for One Book Baltimore."

“We’re excited to see the ongoing positive impact of One Book Baltimore, as it enters its fourth consecutive year,” says John Brothers, president of T. Rowe Price Foundation. “Our data on the program speaks to its ability to stimulate safe discussion, reduce stigma, and prompt opportunities for youth to share their experiences. We’re proud that this partnership seems to be reaching Baltimore youth in a meaningful way.”

"One Book Baltimore aligns perfectly with our Blueprint focus on literacy and having Tami Charles as the bestselling featured author provides our young people with the opportunity to explore their identity through the experiences of her teenage protagonist," said City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises. “Sharing Becoming Beatriz will help our students to connect with each other and their schools in a meaningful way. We are grateful to all of our partners for collaborating on such a rewarding program.”

The Pratt Library will have additional copies for Becoming Beatriz available for community members to check out. The Pratt will have free programming surrounding the themes of the book at all 22 locations throughout the fall. “We are excited to share this book with the community,” says Pratt Library President & CEO Heidi Daniel. “We hope this powerful story has an impact on young readers and helps spark some important conversations inside libraries, in the classroom, and at dinner tables across Baltimore.”

Previous One Book Baltimore authors include Baltimore’s own D. Watkins, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds, and New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone. One Book Baltimore was runner up for the 2020 Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation.

The program is a collaboration between the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other community partners including Maryland Humanities, Maryland Book Bank, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Baltimore Urban Debate League, International Arts and Mind Lab, CityLit Project, Healing Youth Alliance, Creative Alliance, Project Pneuma, Turnaround Inc., Wide Angle Youth Media, and Wombwork.

WBAL-TV11 is the media sponsor of One Book Baltimore.

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ABOUT TAMI CHARLES

Former teacher. Wannabe chef. Proficient taker of naps. Tami Charles is the New York Times Bestselling author of All Because You Matter, and numerous books for children and young adults. Her middle grade debut, Like Vanessa, earned Top 10 spots on the Indies Introduce and Spring Kids’ Next lists, three starred reviews, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her YA novel-in-verse, Muted, and lyrical picture book, My Day with the Panye are her latest new books. When Tami isn’t writing, she can be found presenting at schools both stateside and abroad.

ABOUT BECOMING BEATRIZ

Up until her 15th birthday, the most important thing in the world to Beatriz Mendez was her dream of becoming a professional dancer and getting herself and her family far from the gang life that defined their days–that and meeting her dance idol Debbie Allen on the set of her favorite TV show, Fame. But after the latest battle in a constant turf war leaves her brother, Junito, dead and her mother grieving, Beatriz has a new set of priorities. How is she supposed to feel the rhythm when her brother’s gang needs running, when her mami can’t brush her own teeth, and when the last thing she can remember of her old self is dancing with her brother, followed by running and gunshots? When the class brainiac reminds Beatriz of her love of the dance floor, her banished dreams sneak back in. Now the only question is: will the gang let her go?

ABOUT ONE BOOK BALTIMORE

One Book Baltimore launched in 2018 and is a collaboration between the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other community partners. The program provides opportunities for Baltimore City 7th and 8th graders, their families, and community members to connect through literature by reading the same book. Discussions and programming are held in conjunction to spark conversations focused on peace and how to promote change in our community. For more information, go to www.prattlibrary.org/onebook.