The Spotlight on Nic Stone

by Sara Wecht, Librarian

Dear Martin
by Nic Stone

Dear Martin was the 2019 selection for One Book Baltimore. Nic Stone recently came out with the sequel called Dear Justyce.

Dear Martin‘s main character is Justyce, a teenage boy who struggles to comprehend and cope with racism. 

Trying to help his ex-girlfriend, he gets thrown to the ground and handcuffed. Despite her and her parents’ testimonies, he remains handcuffed for hours. Even though he is released, he is traumatized by the event. He attempts to bring himself some peace by writing letters to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Kids at school discuss racism and this leads to debates similar to those happening currently in our own society. “That ONE black person did it, why can’t you?” “I’m colorblind. Skin color doesn’t matter.” 

One day, he aimlessly rides around with his best friend, Manny, when they get yelled at by someone in another car because of their music. They don’t listen and then they both suddenly get shot. The gentleman was an unidentifiable cop who did not announce himself as such and had no reason for his distress and actions. Justyce is injured but okay. Manny dies.

The politics and media are a nightmare for Justyce. His trauma envelopes him, even as he sporadically writes letters to Martin, asking what he would do. 

This book is about love, family, friendship, loss, trauma, and racism. Justyce dates a white girl who debates with racist classmates. His mom doesn’t approve. His best friend has other, white, friends who only see him as rich, not black. There’s a scene where the group of boys, Justyce, Manny, and Manny’s three white friends, dress up as stereotypes for Halloween. One of them dressed as a KKK member. This caused them a world of problems. A fight breaks out.

Throughout the book are small instances where race is a factor where people might not expect in real life. My takeaway is about the connection between racism and trauma. The two circle each other to the point that it cripples that person’s life. We see that somewhat with Justyce, but there’s hope for him at the end- he’s happy with his girlfriend and  he’s about to attend an Ivy League college. This is a subtle reflection of racism too- that he needs to “become white” in order to be happy- to get a girlfriend and go to a prestigious school. 

However, at the very end he becomes friends with the guy who was previously racist (but didn’t realize it) which implies that it is possible for people to change and for different races to get along after turmoil.  

This is a powerful book that’s about a topic that pervades our society today. This book may be fictional, but these experiences and emotions happen daily. Although this book may be difficult to read during certain parts, it’s one everyone should pick up.

Below are more books by Nic Stone that you may also be interested in including the sequel Dear Justyce.

Dear Justyce
by Nic Stone
by Nic Stone
by Nic Stone
by Nic Stone
Odd One Out
by Nic Stone

Learn More about the Library in Spanish: Pratt en Espanol

By: Vianey Becerra, Social Media Manager

Do you speak Spanish? So do we!

This Hispanic Heritage Month, equal access to important resources and information for the Latinx community in Baltimore was a main priority. That’s why we created the new Pratt en Español Facebook group. Here you’ll find information on Pratt programming, services, books and more, completely translated in Spanish. Our weekly live program, Más Allá de los Libros, provides the most recent updates from the Pratt Library and hosts partner organizations to share local community resources. 

Scroll down to view some of our past posts on the Pratt en Español Facebook group.

To join our Pratt en Espanol Facebook group, visit our main Facebook page: @theprattlibrary. 

And don’t forget to set a reminder for Mas Alla de los Libros every Wednesday at noon EST.

¡Hasta luego!

Books to Help Boost your Savings Account

Happy National Savings Day! Many might not know that it’s a holiday, but it makes cents (see, what we did there?) to celebrate by spotlighting personal finance books available on Hoopla. With Hoopla, you can download up to 12 ebooks, music, TV shows, and movies instantly. What are you waiting for? The guide to financial freedom can be downloaded in seconds. 

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Playing With FIRE
by Scott Rieckens
Big Money Thinks Small
by Joel Tillinghast eBook|Audiobook
Debt-Free Forever
by Gail Vaz-Oxlade
by Andy Martin
Don’t Retire Broke
by Rick Rodgers eBook|Audiobook
Happy Go Money
by Melissa Leong eBook|Audiobook
Millennial Money Makeover
by Conor Richardson eBook|Audiobook
Power Property Investing For Women
by Bindar Dosanjh
Real Money Answers For Every Women
by Patrice C. Washington eBook
Student Loan Solution
by David Carlson
The 21 Day Financial Fast by Michelle Singletary eBook
The 30 Day Money Cleanse by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley
Modern Couple’s Money Guide
by Lesley-Anne Scorgie eBook
Zero Down Your Debt
by Holly Porter Johnson and Greg Johnson

Learning More about the Deaf Community through the Library

by Jamillah Abdul-Saboor, Print and Design Studio

As an employee at the Pratt, I have had the pleasure of experiencing so many cultures from the steady flow of customers especially when I started in the position as an office assistant in the Circulation Department. I encountered customers from different ethnic backgrounds and learned a lot about different languages and behaviors. But I have always been intrigued about deaf customers that would come in for services because of how they are able to communicate with others who are hearing and are still able to get what is needed. Being in that department, I was able to learn some basics in ASL, including “library card,” “computers,” “hello,” and “thank you” so we could help deaf customers feel comfortable at the Pratt. To tell the truth it felt very good to bridge that gap in basic communication. 

Deaf Culture and Community Titles

The Pratt catalogue has many titles for the deaf community. In this video, Pratt Librarian Lauren Read talks about two titles in ASL: Deaf President Now! and Baltimore's Deaf Heritage. Read about more titles today on the Pratt Chat Blog at

Posted by Enoch Pratt Free Library on Monday, October 5, 2020
Lauren Read, BST Librarian, Signs about the two eBooks titles
Deaf President Now! and Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage

Deaf President Now!
by John B. Christiansen and Sharon N. Barnartt

Baltimore’s Deaf Heritage
by Kathleen Brockway

Now that we are in COVID-19 pandemic,  I often wonder about our deaf customers who are always seen and not heard. In doing some research, I found the Pratt Library has a great catalog of resources to help expand knowledge about the deaf community.

Below are some titles from Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library that you can check out today:

Four Days With Kenny Tedford
by Paul Smith
The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL
by Carolyn McCaskill and Ceil Lucas
The Imprisoned Guest
by Elisabeth Gitter
On The Beat of Truth
by Maxine Childress Brown

If you would like to know more about the hearing impaired life go to HLAA Hearing Loss Association of America.

Tiny Stories of Library Love (Part 2)

This summer we invited you to tell us a story involving a library in 100 words or fewer. Thank you to everyone who submitted a story! Here are some of our favorites.

Whitney C.:
When I was 15 I dressed up as the Cat in the Hat for Halloween. One of the librarians from our small town saw me and loved the costume. She asked me to do a special storytime dressed in costume reading Dr. Seuss books. I loved how excited the children were, and it made me realize you can do fun things to make a difference in your community.

Heather D.:
My tiny story involves a tiny library! I discovered the Little Free Library in my neighborhood while out on a walk, and now delight in finding them all over the city!

Jonina D.:
The first time I entered a summer reading program was after sixth grade. The wonderful Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – founded in 1890 – offered so much more than the suburban Whitehall Library – founded in 1963. I finished first: competitive reader that I am, though only for summer reading programs. Checked in for the big party, yet somehow I didn’t hear the announcement that the celebration was starting, so missed the whole thing. (Turned out okay, library staff consoled me by agreeing to help me start a new junior-high-school book-reviewing group.) What was I doing? Reading!

Ruby M.K.:
When I was 14, our family moved to Kenshaw Avenue.  My mother would walk to the corner of Kenshaw and Reisterstown Road and say, “This is a great place for a library.” She wrote a letter suggesting Enoch Pratt build a branch there.   They listened! Because I lived in Atlanta for 46 years, one of the first things I did when I moved back was walk into the Reisterstown Road branch and register for a card. Each time that I visit, I feel a special warmth that people are using the library that my mother helped build.

Inshirah W.:
Hi, my name is Inshirah, and me and my daughter always had these fun visits at the library. That’s where I was able to see her most times. It was hard for me but I knew that’s where we shared our most joy, happiness and all. Anissa took her first steps in the kids’ room of the library. When this Covid is over we plan to revisit the library and have those same memories.