Baltimore City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake studied political science at Oberlin College and attained her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1995. She ran for office her first summer after graduating from law school.

"My campaign kickoff was during my graduation party," said Rawlings-Blake. "I came into the council very idealistic and determined to improve the city but not exactly sure how. The time I have spent on the council has helped me form partnerships and relationships to create change."


Rawlings-Blake believes that it is important for children to start reading at an early age because, she says, reading "develops imagination and character."

"Giovanni's Room" / by James Baldwin / Penguin Modern Classics (paperback) / 176 pages / $12


The thing that captivates me is how he conveys the depth of emotion in a book. I am not demonstrative, but being able to feel the depth of emotion which he describes in a relationship is truly inspirational.

"Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life" / by Alan Deutschman / Collins / 256 pages / $27

Congressman Elijah Cummings recommended the book to me. It is about the science of personal change. Sometimes when people make a preliminary change, they revert back. ... I started reading after I was sworn in [as president of the City Council]. I started to think about the way the council operates, and I began to look at things with a fresh set of eyes. The tactics helped me. We must create culture that will lead us to changing our roles and being more proactive.

"The Souls of Black Folk" / by W.E.B. Du Bois / Cosimo Classics (paperback) / 176 pages / $8

Du Bois was such an incredible intellectual. Reading his books opened my eyes to the African-American experience. The book inspired me to continue motivating and to push for continued change in the community and country.