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

Announcing the 2022 One Book, One Philadelphia Selection: My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes

PHILADELPHIA, January 26, 2022—The Free Library of Philadelphia and the Office of the Mayor today announced that My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes been chosen as the 2022 One Book, One Philadelphia featured reading selection, marking the 20th year of the program.

In this lyrical memoir, Philadelphia-born Quiara Alegría Hudes tells of being a watchful girl on the stairs while her family danced their defiance in a tight North Philly kitchen. Awed by her Puerto Rican mother, grandmother, aunts, and cousins, but haunted by the silences, untold stories, and systemic injustices of el barrio, she writes about searching for her own voice while coming of age in 1980s and 1990s Philadelphia. As Hudes strives to become an artist and tell the stories of her family and community, she finds herself surrounded by many languages, in many forms–written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars–as she navigates experiences of history, migration, spirituality, and home.

Free Library President and Director Kelly Richards said of My Broken Language: “As a new member of the Philadelphia community, the opportunity to join the city in reading a beautiful memoir that documents the challenges and joys of growing up in this city is a great learning experience for my first days with the Free Library of Philadelphia.”

One Book, One Philadelphia is an acclaimed literacy and civic dialogue initiative that encourages the entire greater Philadelphia region to come together through reading and discussing the same book. The announcement marks the beginning of the reading period, during which Philadelphians are invited to delve into the featured selection before the official program period, which will take place virtually  and in person this season, commences in April.

Running from April 27 to June 15, 2022, One Book, One Philadelphia’s innovative and wide-ranging programs will include dozens of events for all ages inspired by the featured selection, created in collaboration with community partners from across the city. Programs will explore themes from My Broken Language and the youth companion titles including migration, home, and belonging; heritages, activism, and cultural preservation in Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican communities; Latinx reproductive justice; Afro-Latinidad foodways; Yoruba traditions; oral histories and the power of storytelling; gentrification; connections with the natural world; and more. Programs will range from book discussions to panel events, cooking programs, and workshops in writing, zine making, movement, and music, as well as crafts for children and families, and can be found on 

On April 27 at 7:30 p.m., the One Book program season will kick off with an event at the Parkway Central Library featuring a conversation between the authors Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lilliam Rivera, as well as an original performance inspired by My Broken Language from students at the Curtis Institute of Music. The event will have limited capacity with simultaneous livestream–attendees can register at

Quiara Alegría Hudes is the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist of Water by the Spoonful and screenwriter of the major motion pictures In the Heights and Vivo. Originally trained as a composer, she often writes at the intersection of music and drama. She wrote the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights with Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Miss You Like Hell with Erin McKeown.

Young readers will join the conversation with discussions and programs inspired by the youth companion titles Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera and Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal.

Founded in 2003 by the Free Library and the Office of the Mayor, One Book, One Philadelphia motivates tens of thousands of people annually to read a featured selection and participate in programming that encourages empathy, understanding, and dialogue among Philadelphia’s many communities. The 2022 One Book program is endowed by the Joseph and Marie Field Fund and sponsored by the Field Foundation. One Book, One Philadelphia is made possible through generous support from the Lenfest Foundation, PECO, and The Sylvia W. and Randle M. Kauders Foundation, secured by the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. Media sponsors include WHYY, Keystone Outdoor Advertising, WURD, and Harmelin Media.

In addition, donations made through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program enable thousands of School District of Philadelphia students and teachers to participate in the One Book, One Philadelphia program each year by providing free copies of the selected books and accompanying curricula. The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation extends its gratitude to the corporations that have made this important initiative possible through their EITC gifts.

All Free Library locations will have copies of My Broken Language and the youth companion titles for customers to borrow with a Free Library card, as well as ebook copies and downloadable audiobooks available for check-out from  


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