One School, One Book has been a staple at North Shore Elementary in St. Petersburg, Florida since 2015. The program has even remained strong during the pandemic thanks to the combined efforts of Tracy Leskanic, co-chair Gifted Program Teacher, and Tamara Gramlich, co-chair Library Media Technology Specialist.
The dynamic duo build excitement with the support of North Shore’s PTA, as well as the dedicated teachers who help with the “surprise” elements of the event. The selected title is always announced during an awards ceremony attended by all students, staff, and parents.
Looking back at their inaugural OSOB, Leskanic shares that the biggest difference in how they launch their program is a simple yet vital shift:
“We have learned that if we keep [the book title] a mystery for the students, they become more and more excited!”
Gramlich adds, “We had started out using the ‘classics.’ You know – the books that were written way before any of our kids were born. Now, we try to pick books that have a newer copyright. There have been some colorful discussions in [our school’s book] committee when we are choosing a book because we are all so passionate about our pick for the upcoming year. We love the process, and wouldn’t change it for anything.”
North Shore Elementary’s read aloud titles include Kenny and the Dragon, The World According to Humphrey, The Chocolate Touch, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Fenway and Hattie, Appleblossom the Possum, and The Toothpaste Millionaire. Most recently, students at North Shore dove into the magical world of Dragons in a Bag.
To Leskanic, one of the most unforgettable OSOB experiences was having a real knight in shining armor (Mr. Casey Maker) visit North Shore during Kenny and the Dragon.
“Our school has always been the North Shore Knights,” Gramlich shares. “This was the first time in history that we had a Knight on our campus and to see the kids react to him was amazing. Even though they knew him, it was like they were seeing him for the first time.”
As they look ahead to future OSOB reading events, both Gramlich and Leskanic are eager to move beyond pandemic limitations to make their OSOB “more of an event again.” In the meantime, the steady excitement of their students even after eight years drives them onward.
“Each year our students will ask when is OSOB? What book is it?” Leskanic says. “They are [always] eager to find out. That, to us, is exciting.”