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Announcement Pratt buildings are currently closed due to COVID-19. Remote and contact-free services are available. Public computer usage is suspended starting Friday, November 27 and will resume Monday, December 7 to help prevent the expected spread of COVID-19 following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Holiday Closing Services at all Pratt locations will be unavailable Thursday, November 26 in observance of Thanksgiving Day.

One Book Baltimore is a collaboration among several local organizations to provide 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 will be held across the city this fall to spark conversations focused on peace and how to promote change in our community.

2020 Selection: We Speak For Ourselves by D. Watkins

One Book Baltimore logo and 2020 book, We Speak for Ourselves

From the row houses of Baltimore to the stoops of Brooklyn, New York Times bestselling author D. Watkins lays bare the voices of the most vulnerable and allows their raw, intimate stories to uncover the systematic injustice threaded within our society. Honest and eye-opening, We Speak for Ourselves makes us listen, feel, and create a course toward change that starts right where we are.

Watkins introduces you to Down Bottom, the storied community of East Baltimore that holds a mirror to America's poor black neighborhoods β€” "hoods" that could just as easily be in Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, or Atlanta. We Speak for Ourselves offers an in-depth analysis of inner-city hurdles and honors the stories therein. Watkins shares the lessons he has learned while navigating through two very distinct worlds β€” the hood and the elite sanctums of prominent black thinkers and public figures β€” serving hope to fellow Americans who are too often ignored and calling on others to examine what it means to be a model activist in today's world. We Speak for Ourselves is a must-read for all who are committed to social change.

Check out this visual illustration of Chapter 15, "Don't Make It Out, Make It Better" from We Speak for Ourselves.

How to Participate

First, get the book. You can borrow a copy of We Speak for Ourselves from the Pratt Library through Sidewalk Service or Books by Mail.

Borrow the book

Once you have a copy of the book, download the One Book Baltimore Discussion Guide (PDF).

Get the Discussion Guide

Once you have read the book, make your voice heard and create writing or artwork inspired by We Speak For Ourselves. CHARM Voices of Baltimore Youth is collecting poetry, prose, and visual art to be included in a virtual museum.

Select submissions will be included in a literary publication, and the chosen artists will get a copy of the publication for free. Submissions are accepted through January 29 by emailing submissions@charmlitmag.org.

Upcoming One Book Baltimore programs

A Community Collaboration

Partner logos: T. Rowe Price Foundation and Baltimore City Public Schools

One Book Baltimore is a collaboration between the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland Humanities, Baltimore Ceasefire 365, Maryland Book Bank, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute, and WBAL-TV11.


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