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More cities celebrating same book.

"One book" projects, initiated by the Washington Center for the Book in 1998, are spreading fast. The projects feature multiple events, such as meet-the-author readings, reenactments and theme parties, around a single book selection.

"It just proves that people are hungry for community," says Nancy Pearl, director of the WCB at the Seattle Public Library. "Bringing people together to talk about good books is a wonderful way of beginning to overcome the 'otherness' we all feel in today's helter-skelter society."

Only a handful of these events have been organized primarily by the K-12 community, since often the book choices are most suitable for teens and adults. The greater Seattle area has found a way to involve the younger set, though. "What If All Kids Read the Same Book?," launched in 2001-2002, is expected to continue this school year, says Chance Hunt, youth services coordinator at the Seattle Public Library. (Last year, budget and staffing shortfalls halted the program.)

Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Schools developed a unique strategy for ensuring kids' participation in their recent One Book project featuring The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte Press, 1995). "Reading police," real police officers from the city, randomly stopped children to ask what they're reading. Students mentioning the selected book got a T-shirt that said, "I Got Caught Reading by the Saint Paul Police." Those who hadn't read the book were sentenced--to "an enjoyable read."

Number of "One Book" Communities *

2001: 12 2002: 105 2003: 93 **

Complete List: The Center for the Book: Library of Congress,

* Includes a few Canadian communities

** Organized as of July 2003
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Title Annotation:"one book" projects across the country
Author:Ezarik, Melissa
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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