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 13th year, One Book examines heritage, memory, and the fundamental power of family


PHILADELPHIA, October 16, 2014—The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office today announced the selection of Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, as the 2015 One Book, One Philadelphia featured reading selection. Now in its 13th 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, 2015, 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, 2015, with a special author event featuring Christina Baker Kline.


Orphan Train is the compelling story of Vivian, a 91-year-old widow once orphaned as a child, and Molly, a troubled teen who has been shuffled from one unstable foster home to another. The two women develop a bond, with Vivian treasuring her Irish immigrant roots and Molly finding comfort in her ancestral Native American tradition. The novel sheds light on an era when thousands of orphaned children were taken from crowded cities to face uncertain futures in the rural Midwest and connects with the importance of heritage and memories in shaping who we are, the value of intergenerational relationships, and the fundamental power of family. The Library Journal calls it, “A compelling story about loss, adaptability, and courage… With compassion and delicacy Kline presents a little-known chapter of American history.”


One Book, One Philadelphia Chair Marie Field commented,  "With Christina Baker Kline's stirring novel at the heart of our 2015 reading and programming experience, Philadelphians will be focusing on the plight of orphaned and abandoned children, both historically and today. With the power of literature to transport us into other people's lives, we shall move toward a more enlightened and empathetic understanding of the difficult realities of life for those children."


Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon also commented on her appreciation of this year’s selection. “Orphan Train is a thought-provoking page-turner that sheds light on a dark moment in American history while reaffirming the transformative strength of friendship and family,” said Reardon. “It’s a wonderful choice, and I am excited for everyone in Philadelphia to read the novel and enjoy the diverse One Book, One Philadelphia programming beginning in 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 2015 One Book program is sponsored by The Field Foundation. Media sponsors include WHYY, Philadelphia CityPaper, Harmelin Media, and Keystone Outdoor. All Free Library locations will have several hard copies of Orphan Train—as well as the 2015 middle-grade companion book, Rodzina by Karen Cushman, and children’s companion book, Locomotive by Brian Floca—for customers to borrow with a Free Library card. In addition, the Free Library will have Orphan Train 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.


The 61-location Free Library of Philadelphia system advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. With more than 6 million in-person and 9 million online visits annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


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