This September – November, One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern (The One Book Project) is encouraging the entire community to share experiences related to a single book’s themes through discussions, educational programming, and entertainment. The read is meant to pull a community together, cross cultural divides, and enhance understanding of our diversity, all while supporting literacy.
Are you a part of a BOOK CLUB or CLASSROOM reading this year’s titles?
Submit your book group to the One Book Project to be included in the total count of readers. Open book groups can also choose to share meeting details and be listed online for potential newcomers (optional).
Primary Title Incarceration Nations by Baz Dreisinger
An odyssey through the prison systems across the world, author Baz Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women, and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex.
Memoir Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world and meets women from all walks of life. Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison.
Fiction The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver
Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Sitting on death row ten years later, Marlene Dixon, a high-powered attorney and the mother of the victim tells Noa she will do everything in her power to alter the sentence, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.
Teen Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
After severely injuring Peter Driscal in an empty parking lot, Cole Matthews in in major trouble. Instead of jail time, Cole is given the option to attend Circle Justice, an alternative program that sends juvenile offenders to a remote Alaskan Island to focus on changing their ways. While there, Cole is mauled by a mysterious white bear and left for dead, causing him to examine his actions and seek redemption.
Tween The Same Stuff As Stars by Katherine Paterson
Angel Morgan needs help. Daddy is in jail, and Mama has abandoned her and her little brother, leaving them with their great-grandmother. Grandma is aged and poor, and Angel, not yet twelve, must care for the children. Star Man, a mysterious stranger who appears on clear nights and teaches her all about the solar system tells her, “We’re made out of the same stuff as the stars.” This is Angel’s and her family’s story of perseverance.
Elementary Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by building holes. Stanley tries to dig up the truth about what the warden is really looking for in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment – and redemption.
Picture Book Far Apart, Close in Heart by Becky Birtha
Children can experience many emotions when a parent is in jail or prison. They may be angry, sad, lonely, or scared. In this important book, young readers learn that even when it feels like nothing can get better again, there are ways to keep a parent close in their hearts.
California State University, Bakersfield
Barnes & Noble
Kern High School District
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Kern Literacy Council
Community Action Partnership of Kern
Employers’ Training Resource / America’s Job Center of California
Kegley Institute of Ethics
Norman Levan Center for the Humanities
Tehachapi Community Church
Special Thanks to Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Kern Golden Empire Television, Taft College Foundation, Walter W. Stiern Library, and The California Endowment.
Want to become a partner? Email Jasmin LoBasso.
History of the One Book Project
The program began in 2001 through the grassroots efforts of Jillian Fritch, an elementary school teacher who had read a story in the Los Angeles Times regarding One Book, One Community initiatives; at the time Seattle Reads and One Book Chicago were pioneers, and Los Angeles had decided to do a One Book project. Jillian was inspired to begin a project in Bakersfield. The first book was “To Kill a Mockingbird.” An array of community partners jumped on board, including education, nonprofits, local government, businesses, and media outlets. The Kern County Library became the lead organization in 2003. Now, the One Book Project continues to reach out to our diverse Kern County community both in book choice and related programming. In 2010, the One Book Project began a partnership with California State University, Bakersfield’s “Runner Reader Program” (or First-Year Experience Program), which involves students reading a common book. Through this partnership, the community has benefited extended programming, including author visits and talks at CSUB at the culmination of the read. In November 2011, more than 1,400 people turned out to hear author Wes Moore speak about his book, “The Other Wes Moore.” One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern remains a grassroots project that relies on community partners and donations to provide related programming and copies of the book throughout the county.