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


The Free Library of Philadelphia’s flagship literacy program opens its 2017 season with a panel featuring former One Book authors and a musical performance from the Curtis Institute of Music

PHILADELPHIA, January 25, 2017— The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 15th season of its annual One Book, One Philadelphia program on January 25 with a special evening featuring a musical premiere and a fascinating panel discussion amongst renowned former One Book authors.

The kickoff celebration began with opening remarks by Free Library of Philadelphia President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon, who recognized primary sponsors the Field Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation, PECO, and Walmart; sponsors American Airlines, The Logan Hotel, and Stradley Ronon; and media partners WHYY, Harmelin Media, and Keystone Outdoor Advertising. Reardon then invited Marie Field, Chair of One Book, One Philadelphia, to speak. 

“In its 15th anniversary year, One Book is focusing on this poignant work in order to foster conversations about how to celebrate our differences while creating deeper connections with one another and our community,” said Reardon. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an inspiring read, and I encourage all Philadelphians to head to any Free Library location where they will find copies of the book, as well as fascinating programs and activities that bring the book to life in new and interesting ways.”

“With The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the heart of our 2017 One Book season, Philadelphia readers will view the world through the eyes of its uniquely challenged narrator, 15-year-old Christopher Boone,” Field said. “Once again, a compelling work of literature will ignite our imagination, stir our empathy, and enable us to walk in the shoes of someone whose differences are far outweighed by the things we have in common.”

The event opened with a screening of a video of author Mark Haddon, describing how he created the fascinating teenage protagonist in his novel. Then, a panel featuring former One Book featured authors Lorene Cary, Carlos Eire, Christina Baker Kline, Steve Lopez, and James McBride discussed their methods of creating memorable characters and narratives. The event concluded with an original musical work by Curtis Institute of Music composer Nick DiBerardino, inspired by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The evening’s event was just one of more than 100 engaging and educational One Book programs that will take place through March 23. Book discussions, children’s craft workshops, panel discussions, and film screenings are just some of the wide variety of events offered in One Book, One Philadelphia’s 15th season. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is the story of an eccentric and gifted young man who gains a deeper understanding of himself while solving a neighborhood mystery. The New Yorker says, “This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy.” The Daily Telegraph states, “Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers and for showing us that the best lives are lived where differences are cherished.”

Companion books for teens and children are also a part of the program. The middle-grade companion book, Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery and Temple Grandin, describes how Grandin turned her differences into her strengths. The book was a 2015 Finalist for the National Book Award. The children’s companion book, My Cousin Momo by Philadelphian Zachariah OHora, tells the story of a quirky flying squirrel, misunderstood by his family.

The One Book website at is devoted to more resources, including downloadable discussion guides, recommended reading lists, event calendars, and more.

About the Author

A resident of Oxford, England, author Mark Haddon studied English literature at the Merton College. In the years following his graduation, he worked in a variety of roles, including as a caretaker for people with autism, as well as a cartoonist, a writer of children’s books and television programs, an illustrator, and a painter of abstract art. He has also written television dramas for the BBC Network and has authored a collection of poetry. Mark Haddon is a recipient of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, and The Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize. His most recent book is The Pier Falls and Other Stories.

About One Book, One Philadelphia

Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Mayor’s Office, One Book motivates tens of thousands of people to read the featured selection and participate in discussions, events, workshops, classes, and more.  All Free Library locations will have several copies of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  and the 2017 middle-grade companion book, Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery and Temple Grandin, and children’s companion book, My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora for customers to borrow with a Free Library card. In addition, the Free Library will have ebook and audiobook copies available for download from its website.


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The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and the Rosenbach, 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, including neighborhood Hotspots; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at the Rosenbach. With more than 6 million in-person visits and millions more online 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