The 2016 Choice for One Book One Yearly Meeting

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A group of Friends at Annual Sessions 2015 formed a One Book One Yearly Meeting 2016 Sprint Group, which is a practice Friends in PYM will be embracing frequently as we live into our new governance structure. This particular sprint met only one time, over lunch on Friday, July 29 to choose the 2016 One Book.

All ten thousand Friends, 105 monthly meetings, 13 quarterly meetings, several worship groups, preparative meetings, and other constituents who make up our yearly meeting are invited to engage with the 2016 choice in some way, up through Annual Sessions 2016.

Traditionally, we’ve selected the One Book, and then given it a companion children’s book to ensure that our work over the coming year remains multigenerational. The 2016 Sprint Group turned this practice on its head. This year’s choice is easily read by almost all ages and paired with two companion books for adults, who want to explore the various implications of the choice.

Without further delay and with a drumroll, please, this year’s choice is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

In Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson encircles us within the poetic treatise of a world seen through the eyes of a child of color during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Fewer than 60 years ago, the breadth and depth of the Black American tragic soul life had just begun to reach the surface of white American discourse in this country. As the sight lines of many remain opaque at best, Brown Girl Dreaming starkly reasserts, in ways only this sort of writing can, that there is still much more work to be done.

The sprint group chose two companion adult books: Building the Movement to End the New Jim Crow by Daniel Hunter and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.