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Hingham Middle School Celebrates One Book, One School Day with Varsha Bajaj

Monday, November 7, 2022 – Hingham Middle School (HMS) is thrilled to announce the celebration of One Book, One School Day. This year’s book Count Me In, by Varsha Bajaj, was assigned as summer reading to all middle school students. The author’s visit was funded by a grant provided by the Hingham Education Foundation. 

The celebrated author visited Hingham and offered thought-provoking perspectives to students as well as inspiration to young readers and writers. Bajaj smoothly transitioned from what inspired her as a young reader into asking the same of Hingham students. The presentation elicited thoughtful questions from students for the author such as how long it takes to write a book or what inspired the colors of the cover. 

The event was a culmination of the One Book, One School initiative that began with students and staff reading Varsha Bajaj’s book, Count Me In. “Count Me In” is a compelling story about standing up for what is right, social change, and activism. This contemporary novel tells the story of an Indian-American seventh-grader who sees the effects of a racist incident in her life and realizes she can’t just passively stand by. By using her own gifts and talents, she works to help her community (and the reader) to understand our world is better when we embrace diversity and stand united. As Bajaj stated in her presentations, “Books cross boundaries.” The committee selected this novel to “help students see that they can make a difference in their community and the lives of others through their actions. We feel it not only compliments the district-wide theme of Hingham Together, but also empowers students to stand up for what is right,” said OBOS co-chairs Melissa Goldman and Lauren Ciocca.

One Book, One School has been a tradition at HMS since 2016. Through the years, students have read books about the water situation in South Sudan, the state of our oceans, the refugee crisis, appreciation of our unique qualities, and 9/11. In selecting books, the committee looks to expand students’ knowledge of the world, build empathy, and empower students to make a difference. On the first half day of the school year, students and staff participate in a day of learning focused on the themes of the selected books. Throughout the school year, the book becomes a touchstone for in-class discussions and extra-curricular events. For more information about previous selections, please see the HMS One Book One School website.