FAQs

Your One Maryland One Book questions answered!

  • How is the One Maryland One Book chosen?

    Each fall, Maryland Humanities sends out a call for suggestions to the general public, educators, librarians, schools, book clubs, and other partners. The call for suggestions is based on an annual theme and pre-determined criteria.

    Once the suggestions deadline has passed, the Maryland Humanities staff researches all suggestions to make sure they fit the established criteria. Then the selection committee takes the lead.

    The selection committee narrows the list of potential choices to a top ten list. In January, the committee meets to discuss the top ten and narrows the list down to three choices, later voting to establish which book will be the One Maryland One Book pick.

  • What is the selection criteria for One Maryland One Book?
    In addition to having a focus on the yearly theme, the book can be either fiction or nonfiction and should:

    • be able to generate sustained discussion on the year’s theme
    • be of interest to people in the state of Maryland
    • appeal to a wide range of readers of different backgrounds and reading abilities
    • connect to high school age readers as well as adults
    • be of manageable length (up to 350 pages)
    • be available in paperback and priced affordably
    • be in print and audio, and if possible, in electronic format, large print, Braille, film and translation
    • a living author is a consideration, but not a criterion
    • a Maryland author is a consideration, but not a criterion

  • What was the theme for the 2017 One Maryland One Book?
    Home & Belonging
  • What books were finalists for the 2017 One Maryland One Book?
    The theme for the 2017 One Maryland One Book is Home & Belonging.

    The finalists for the 2017 selection were:

    • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
    • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

  • How can I participate in One Maryland One Book?
    Visit the How to Participate page to learn how you can take part, either as an individual or as a program partner. Maryland Humanities offers free support materials—Reader’s Guides, Teacher’s Guides, bookmarks, and posters—to book groups, organizations, and businesses that sign on as official partners.
  • Does Maryland Humanities give out free copies of the book?
    Given the statewide scope of the program, we are unable to provide copies of the book to individuals or book clubs. However, via the generosity of our donors, books are made available to participating public libraries and public high schools.

    We update bookstores around the state once the book is selected. Check your local bookstore for a copy or let them know about the program!

    Maryland Humanities provides some funding support to libraries and nonprofit organizations, as well as secondary and post-secondary schools, to foster creative public programming across the state.

  • How do you choose the One Maryland One Book Author Tour stops?
    Each year, Maryland organizations are invited to co-host the statewide Author Tour. The author is typically available for a limited number of official tour stops, so the application process is competitive.

    For information on funding support or the Author Tour contact Andrea Lewis.

  • Are One Maryland One Book events free or is there a cost to participate?
    All One Maryland One Book events, including the Author Tour, are free and open to the public. Seating is first-come first-served.

    Sign up for Maryland Humanities email newsletter to receive advance notice of events, or connect with us on Facebook or on Twitter via @MDHumanities. Use the hashtag #1MD1BK to join the conversation!

  • “The school I am reporting on is designed as an alternative center for students who are not successful in the “regular” classrooms in our district. These students are challenged by a number of factors, including emotional problems, discipline issues, etc. This particular book was one that a number of students were able to relate to and engage with. As a consequence, students who do not normally read became active participants in both reading and discussing!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “For most of my 10th grade students, this was the first book they have read from cover to cover.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The impact of this particular book was probably stronger than any other Maryland One Book due to the connections we could make with real world events and police brutality in the headlines. Many groups were reading and discussing the book at our school: Student Equity Team, Drama Club, Faculty book club, sociology and English classes. It fostered important discussions about race relations.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “What a discussion! That what’s needed in every town, city, and every age group.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “One of my students, a boy who works 35 hours a week at McDonalds, took the time to write me a letter stating the book had changed his life.”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book is] excellent! I come to as many of the One Maryland One Book events and will continue to do so—always pleased!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “The OMOB 2014 selection seemed to touch the hearts of so many teachers and students. Everyone who read the story was in awe of the struggles, the will to survive, and then the motivation to write the memoir. The Distance Between Us created such an impact on each reader that s/he handed the book to someone with the request, “you must read this story!” Plus, the selection was inter-disciplinary and ‘captured’ students in all grade and academic levels. Renya Grande captivated the readers who, “couldn’t put the book down.” It is one of the best selections. Thank you!!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2014 teacher
  • “The book selections offer an opportunity to read a book that is informative and engaging. It enhances our view of the world and the individuals within it. We sincerely look forward to the OMOB selections and materials each year. It is a topic of excitement and discussion among students and staff. Truly and wonderfully.”

    ​One Maryland One Book teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book] brings cross curricular teachers together to the library to read, discuss topics and social issues in the book. It’s a way for students to read good books without the pressure of an assignment.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “One student in my book club who is in a wheelchair and has a lot of other persona/home issues, was the first to finish the book, and wheeled herself into the library more than once to ask me if I had finished the book because she wanted to talk about it. She was a huge contributor to the discussion.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “We had our best attendance, ever, for a book discussion, in the seven years I’ve been here.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 participant
  • “This program is a gift, literally and figuratively!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “I completed the book club with 22 students, all of them on the JV football team – so not your stereotypical group of book club attendees. On the last day of our book club experience I asked students for some feedback and also asked if they would be interested in participating in another book club. Nearly all of them said that this was the first time they had ever participated in a book club, and a few said it was the first time they had actually read an entire book. I keep hearing back from them, too, [asking] ‘When is the next book club starting up?’. The discussions we had were powerful and meaningful–this was truly one of the most moving experiences I have had as an educator.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “My students have been removed from their home schools. Right away, they made comments about the diction of the text, how it seemed realistic to them and they pointed out words they would have changed. We talked about word choice, slang, etc. I had 2 instances where students were excited to see me because they had events similar to the book happen to them and they needed to tell someone. They want to know how to change things. […] These kids typically failed English class or were chronic non-attenders or were removed before they came here. They are excited about reading a book! Teacher librarian win!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “A sophomore on our school’s state-champ runner-up varsity football team was so taken by Joe’s story of the sophomore year on the boat that he got his dad (the coach) and several members of his team to read the book even though they weren’t assigned it in class. Another student described a discussion she got into with her math teacher after school about the relevance of the English curriculum and used her experience with Brown’s work and the field trip to convince her teacher that humanities are just as important as STEM. Great stuff!”

    ​One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
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