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Welcome to One Book One Norristown!

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

One Book One Norristown is a collaborative literacy project developed by the Greater Norristown NAACP, the Literacy Council of Norristown, and the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library.

The One Book One Norristown initiative is aimed at improving literacy (i.e. critical thinking, reading, and writing; aesthetic literacy; historical literacy; civics/voting literacy) and civic engagement in the Norristown area. This initiative is similar to the One Book One Philadelphia concept but with a more community-based, social justice perspective.

OBON will launch officially in September 2022 and extend through December 2022. Philadelphia author and University of Pennsylvania Professor Lorene Cary has graciously accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker for this event, and her novel The Price of a Child will serve as the primary community read.

Our hope is that OBON will encourage the Norristown community to engage with literacy of all kinds (i.e. reading/writing/critical thinking; voting/civics literacy; aesthetic literacy), community activism, and local art and artists. OBON will inspire connectedness among diverse groups in Norristown and increase communication and collaboration among local organizations, businesses, and government officials in the Norristown area for the benefit of the community through a collective reading experience. OBON will facilitate specific long-term partnerships between the Norristown NAACP, MC-NPL, and NASD related to literacy of all kinds, civic engagement, and social justice. OBON will lift up the Norristown community by working alongside an acclaimed author, including the community in planning the events, and leading by example for other municipalities interested in the One Book initiative.

While we are still developing programming for this event, the following activities are currently in the works:

  • Elmwood Park Zoo's Read Across America - February 27, 2022

  • OBON Kick-Off! - September 24, 2022 (location TBD)

  • Religion and Resistance - a symposium w/ local religious institutions on the role of the religion in resistance and civil rights movements (date TBD)

  • NAACP, MC-NPL, and LCN present An Evening with Lorene Cary (date TBD)

  • NAHS + African American Studies

  • MC-NPL’s book club will read The Price of a Child - September 24, 2022

  • MC-NPL children’s department will cover related activities for children/reading buddies (dates TBD)

  • MC-NPL screening of Harriet (date TBD)

  • LCN Book Club for emerging readers/GED students (dates TBD)

  • Our Shared Experience: The African American and Latinx Experience in America - October 14, 2022

The OBON planning committee welcomes any and all connections we can make between your organization/interests and our objectives. Below are some examples:

  • Include a project that relates to the themes/ideas in the OBON texts, such as a performance, a play, a poem, a puppet show, an art project, a dance/song, or a book club in your fall 2022 organizational programming.

  • Encourage your staff to read The Price of a Child.

  • Create a read-aloud group so individuals can read the book together in a supportive environment. This can range from NASD teens reading to younger children/students after school or at a local library or adults reading to other adults at a local coffee shop. The possibilities are endless!

  • Media coverage - Times Herald, Wingspan, videos, podcasts.

The OBON planning committee wants this initiative to be as inclusive as possible of our multicultural and multilingual community here in Norristown. To that end, we are looking to add the following projects:

  • Community translation project - multilingual organizations can work with excerpts of Cary’s texts and translate them together as an activity.

  • Connect Cary’s texts to other social issues, such as family separation at the US/Mexico border, immigration/refugee issues, civil rights movements, or the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

  • Connect w/ LCN to create multilingual reading groups for adults, children, and families.

Initiatives like this need funding so that we can ensure students/families can have access to the texts, events, and/or other related materials without any cost to them. Donations and/or sponsorships will fund:

  • OBON kick-off and culminating events

  • Purchase texts from Lorene Cary

  • Stipends for NASD students to lead reading/discussion groups (reading buddies)

  • Stipends for NASD teachers to create curriculum

  • Stipends for community translators to help with translation project or to assist us at public events

For this project to be successful, we need to spread the word. We ask that you use your social media and/or newsletters to help promote the OBON initiative.

We can't wait for Norristown to become the culture and arts center of Montgomery County!

Contact Monica D’Antonio for more information!

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