One Book, One District 2020 - 2021: Better Connections
The 2020 - 2021 One Book, One District theme is Better Connections. In this present time, it's more important than ever to stay connected and interact with each other. This theme prompts us to reflect on the important relationships we have formed in our own lives, the value of these bonds and how we have altered our interactions in response to the pandemic.
For the 2020 - 2021 school year, students and staff can choose from six different books which have a common theme of characters making connections with one another to help drive the storyline along.
Book Selections and Summaries
I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda
The true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever. It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin's class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives. In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends --and better people--through their long-distance exchange. Their story will inspire you to look beyond your own life and wonder about the world at large and your place in it.
Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell—whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In the medieval kingdom of Carthya, a civil war is brewing. The royal family has been murdered, and a scheming nobleman named Conner plans to replace the kingdom’s long-lost prince with an imposter so that he can rule from behind the scenes. After scouring the land, Conner finds an orphan named Sage and three others to prepare for the role. The boys are brought to Conner’s palace and forced to compete against each other to learn the ways of a nobleman. At the end of their training, one of them will be chosen to be Conner’s false prince, while the other three — well, surely they know too much and can’t be allowed to live. Secrets are revealed, alliances forged, backs stabbed, and — at last — the false prince is chosen. And, yet, further truths and lies are yet to be told in this action-packed adventure filled with deceit, danger, and hidden identities.
Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The opening novel of The Lord of the Rings—the greatest fantasy epic of all time—which continues in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. The dark, fearsome Ringwraiths are searching for a Hobbit. Frodo Baggins knows that they are seeking him and the Ring he bears—the Ring of Power that will enable evil Sauron to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. Now it is up to Frodo and his faithful servant, Sam, with a small band of companions, to carry the Ring to the one place it can be destroyed: Mount Doom, in the very center of Sauron’s realm.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After placing her own baby for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him. The interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge in route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. A tribute to the people of Lithuania, Poland, and East Prussia, the novel unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.