One Book Day: January 28, 2022
“We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”
—from The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Immersing themselves in issues ranging from time travel to immigration law to the nature of love, upper middle school students participated in the school’s first-ever One Book Day, run jointly by the library and the upper middle school office. The day centered around The Sun is Also a Star, the award-winning young adult novel by Nicola Yoon about a Korean-American boy and a Jamaican immigrant girl. It kicked off with a virtual visit from author Nicola Yoon and concluded with a panel discussion featuring Yoon and Saint Ann’s alum Ry Russo-Young ’99, who directed the movie version of the book. In between, students, who each received a copy of the book to read before winter break, followed their passions and attended their choice of workshops created by faculty and staff from every department. These 45-minute classes were spun off from The Sun is Also a Star—which uses thematically-rich interlinked chapters to tell the story of two teenagers in New York City who meet and fall in love on the day when one of them is to be deported. They included: “It’s Fate! Really?” an exploration of the book and how fate and destiny have been viewed throughout history (run by a classics teacher), “FLASH MOB!” in which students led by a dance teacher choreographed a piece inspired by a scene in the book, and “Dreamers in Real Life” co-chaired by a faculty member and a Saint Ann’s parent who is an immigration lawyer with the New York Legal Assistance Group. The workshops, too numerous to list (including Hair Science, The American Dream, How to Write a Novel, Interracial Dating)—twenty-nine in total—were a testament to the dedication of the students and faculty to work across divisions and disciplines and delve deeply into one text together. And of course there was food: Director of Food Services Amra Tomlinson created a Korean-Jamaican fusion lunch of jerk chicken bibimbap for the occasion, which fueled our brains and souls.