For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


In its 12th season, One Book examines the truth and tragedy of modern war

PHILADELPHIA, October 23, 2013—The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office today announced the selection of The Yellow Birds, written by Army veteran Kevin Powers, as the 2014 One Book, One Philadelphia featured reading selection. Now in its 12th season, this literacy initiative encourages the entire greater Philadelphia region to come together through reading and discussing the same book. Running from January 22 through March 19, 2014, the One Book, One Philadelphia program will include more than 100 related events inspired by the featured selections, including panel discussions, film screenings, musical performances, and more. The One Book program will kick off on January 22, 2014, with a special author event featuring Kevin Powers.

Winner of the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction and a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award, The Yellow Birds has been compared to Tim O’Brien’s classic war novel, The Things They Carried, for its powerful depiction of the truth and tragedy of war. Poet/novelist Powers vividly tells the story of a young soldier struggling to find meaning in his harrowing experiences in Iraq, while suffering profound guilt over his friend and fellow soldier’s death, as well as alienation from community and family upon his return home. According to The New York Times, “Kevin Powers has something to say, something deeply moving about the frailty of man and the brutality of war, and we should all lean closer and listen.”

One Book, One Philadelphia Chair Marie Field commented, “With Kevin Powers’s searing novel, The Yellow Birds, at the heart of One Book’s 2014 reading and programming experience, Philadelphians will be moved toward a deeper, more empathetic understanding of the realities of war as it impacts the lives of young soldiers, both on the battlefield and back home. As with all great literature, The Yellow Birds is a life-altering book.”

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon also commented on her appreciation of this year’s selection. “The Yellow Birds is a gripping and thought-provoking novel about the grim reality of war and the struggles that so many of our young soldiers face upon their return home,” said Reardon. “It’s a truly powerful choice, and I am excited for the important discussions that will be sparked and facilitated during the upcoming One Book, One Philadelphia program period beginning next January.”

Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Mayor’s Office, One Book motivates tens of thousands of people annually to read a featured selection and participate in related discussions, events, workshops, classes, and more. The 2014 One Book program is sponsored by The Field Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, PECO, and Pepper Hamilton, LLP. Media sponsors include City Paper, WHYY, Keystone Outdoor, and Harmelin Media.

All Free Library locations will have several hard copies of The Yellow Birds—as well as the 2014 middle-grade companion book, Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees by Deborah Ellis, and children’s companion book, The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter—for customers to borrow with a Free Library card. In addition, the Free Library will have The Yellow Birds available as an ebook for download from its website as well as for loan on circulating electronic reading devices. The book will also be available in audio format as a CD and as a downloadable audio file at

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About the Free Library’s Commitment to Digital Literacy
The Free Library of Philadelphia aims to provide literacy, learning, and economic recovery for the city of Philadelphia though its unparalleled access and training in the digital space. With more than 30,000 ebooks; 1,000 public access computers; 1,000 author event podcasts; more than 100 online databases; daily homework and computer literacy classes online; Hot Spot community computer training centers; and the roving Techmobile “Hot Spot on wheels,” the Free Library’s digital services have never been greater.

About the Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850