One Book Day 2024—Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood

For sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, Friday, February 2 was One Book Day, a day devoted to the nonfiction graphic novel Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood by Samuel Machado and Cynthia Sousa Machado. This is the third year that the program—run jointly by the Upper Middle School and library—has brought together students, faculty, and outside experts to focus intensely on a single text and the issues and ideas that arise from it. Thingchronicles the work of the Nonhuman Rights Project to win freedom for a 50-year-old Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo and explores the legal and scientific arguments for expanding our view of animal rights. The day began with a keynote speech by the authors, followed by more than 30 unique workshops that included a session on animal medicine by Saint Ann’s alum Dr. John Sykes (a vet for the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society), a workshop about children’s rights, a mock trial, and many art and science workshops—from elephant puppetry to elephant behavior to cartooning for a cause. Love and thanks to all who participated–especially the wonderful faculty who ran workshops and assisted in countless other ways.