One Book Baltimore Kicks Off Fifth Year with “Furia” From Author Yamile Saied Mendez

More than 11,000 Baltimore City seventh and eighth graders to receive copies of Yamile Saied Méndez’s “Furia”

One Book Baltimore will celebrate its fifth year by featuring writer Yamile Saied Méndez and her award-winning novel “Furia,” a Reese’s YA Book Club selection and the 2021 Pura Belpré Young Adult Gold Medalist.

One Book Baltimore, an initiative pioneered by the T. Rowe Price Foundation in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, to promote reading and community dialogue, represents a collaboration among the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Baltimore City Public Schools and Baltimore community partners. Since its launch in 2018, One Book Baltimore promotes engagement with reading for Baltimore City seventh and eighth graders while fostering a citywide dialogue with families and community members by reading the same book.

Over the past four years, more than 11,000 Baltimore City seventh and eighth graders attending more than 80 middle schools have received a copy of the One Book Baltimore author’s book. As in past years, every Baltimore City seventh and eighth grader will receive a copy of “Furia.” Hundreds of students have also met the authors chosen as One Book Baltimore selections in person at various sites or virtually. Discussions and related programing will take place in Baltimore this fall and winter to spark conversations focused on peace and promoting change in the community.

A recent study published in the Journal of Community Psychology from the International Arts + Mind Lab (IAM Lab) at Johns Hopkins University reveals that the literary arts can effectively generate productive conversations and educate students about complex topics, such as violence and mental health. The research builds upon previous studies suggesting that literature can help generate dialogue about sensitive topics and reduce stigma, negatively affecting mental health outcomes. The One Book Baltimore program also draws inspiration from bibliotherapy — using books as therapy to support mental health — and other studies that show how reading literature can help youth develop perspective-taking and empathy.

In her work, Yamile Saied Méndez presents the story of Camila Hassan, a rising soccer star who must put everything — including her blooming love story — on the line to follow her dreams.

“I was so excited when I heard the news. It’s a tremendous honor that ‘Furia’ would be recognized and chosen from among so many possible books for One Book Baltimore,” said Saied Méndez. “I love that I had the opportunity to share my Argentine, fútbol culture with those who weren’t familiar with it, and I’m also humbled at seeing how important it’s been for those who share my background. To think that these characters who lived in my imagination for so long now belong to all readers is a privilege I never take for granted. I’m very grateful that this story of my heart will be shared with so many students.”

“The Pratt Library is thrilled to celebrate the fifth anniversary of One Book Baltimore. We’ve had the opportunity to bring five powerhouse YA authors into libraries and classrooms across Baltimore City to have one-on-one interactions with young people,” said Heidi Daniel, president and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. “This program is truly making a difference in the lives of our seventh and eighth graders and their families. I want to thank the staff at the Pratt Library and Baltimore City Schools who help make this program a success and the T. Rowe Price Foundation for their generous support.”

“It’s a privilege to continue to collaborate with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools and many Baltimore community partners as we celebrate this milestone anniversary with One Book Baltimore,” said T. Rowe Price Foundation President John Brothers. “We hope that by engaging in the collective experience of reading ‘Furia,’ adults and youth alike can appreciate the power that a good book has to inspire change and foster solidarity in our community.”

“One Book Baltimore aligns perfectly with our Blueprint focus on literacy. This year’s selection, ‘Furia,’ provides young readers with a wonderful view of how talent and determination can remove life’s barriers,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises. “We are grateful to all of our partners for collaborating on such a rewarding program and its meaningful impact on our students.”

One Book Baltimore is a collaboration among the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other community partners including CHARM: Voices of Baltimore, Artivate, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Healing Youth Alliance, CIELO of Creative Alliance, muse360, DewMore Baltimore, local artist Agustin Rosa, and Wombworks. WBAL-TV11, Mundo Latino Baltimore and Somos Baltimore Latino are media sponsors of this year’s One Book Baltimore.


Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is the author of many books for young readers and adults, including “Furia,” a Reese’s YA Book Club selection and the 2021 Inaugural Pura Belpré Young Adult Gold Medalist. Her books have received many accolades such as the Junior Library Guild Gold Standard, Whitney Award, Cybils Award, Américas Award, Bank Street Spanish Language Book Awards, among others. They have also been featured in the Best of Year lists of the New York City Public Library, Salt Lake Public Library, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and those of many states.

Yamile Saied Méndez was born and raised in Rosario, Argentina, but has lived most of her life in a lovely valley surrounded by the mountains in Utah. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she is also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. Yamile is also a founding member of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latina authors. She taught herself English by using a Spanish/English dictionary and now has been a faculty member at TinHouse Workshop and a keynote speaker at The Vermont College of Fine Arts. For more information, visit


In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol — and she needs their permission to go further. The boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: She has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambitions of a girl like her.

Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance and breathless action on the pitch, “Furia” is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.


One Book Baltimore launched in 2018 and is a collaboration among the T. Rowe Price Foundation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore City Public Schools and other community partners. The program provides opportunities for Baltimore City seventh and eighth graders, their families and community members to connect through literature by reading the same book. Discussions and programming are held in conjunction to spark conversations focused on peace and how to promote change in our community.

One Book Baltimore authors have included Baltimore’s own D. Watkins, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone and award-winning author Tami Charles. In 2020, One Book Baltimore was the runner-up for the Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation. For more information, go to