"We are books. We are these vessels of information, stories, inspiration, love." —Mieka Moody, librarian and One Book selection committee member
Reflecting on 20 years of the One Book, One Philadelphia program, we are truly so excited for what will come in the next decades, including what we'll be reading and all the ways that we'll share our stories and learn from one another. We hope that as One Book goes forward, it continues to evolve as our city of intersecting communities does, and remains a place where storytelling is a means of understanding ourselves and our history and building a future together.
In honor of 20 years of citywide reading and civic dialogue, we're thrilled to have partnered with Tetra Creative to share words from just a few of the countless partners and participants who have made One Book programming special each year.
Watch this video celebrating 20 years of One Book, One Philadelphia!
We hope you enjoy hearing from Christopher Rogers at the Paul Robeson House & Museum, Library Supervisor at Lillian Marrero Library and member of the One Book selection committee Mieka Moody, highschool teacher Charlie McGeehan, Philadelphia Senior Center book club leader Regina DeShields, Tailinh Agoyo at We Are the Seeds, and our dedicated Program Chair Marie Field, who has led One Book for nearly two decades with incredible passion and care. There are even a few gorgeous words at the end from this year's featured author, Philadelphia-born Quiara Alegría Hudes. We are grateful to all of them for expressing their thoughts and experiences with us and for being a part of our shared community.
"Storytelling is the way that we make sense out of life. Its origins are as ancient as the people who sat around fires, and it connects us to other people and to ourselves."
—Marie Field, One Book program chair
"James Baldwin has this quote where he says, 'If we understood ourselves better, we would damage ourselves less.' And I think through stories we find an opening to connect with people and have them be windows to see possibility, to see hope, to see a new world come into being. A lot of that comes through literature."
—Christopher Rogers, Paul Robeson House & Museum
"A great piece of literature and a series of citywide events can go a long way in getting students to reengage. Students want material that speaks to them, and that is relevant to what's going on in the world and to all the movements pushing for change and pushing for justice."
—Charlie McGeehan, high school teacher
"It's about things you can't take for granted; just a collaboration of so many ideas spinning around, and it's just beautiful. "
—Regina DeShields, Philadelphia Senior Center book club leader
"One Book is about community, the voices of our community, and opening up conversation and having fun, and maybe crying, and having these emotions together as human people trying to exist in this world that is not easy. And you get this deep-dive experience, not just about the book but about life, and how we connect with each other."
—Tailinh Agoyo, We Are the Seeds
"Having grown up at the 800 block of South St. Bernard Street, Philly was where I read. It was really exciting, and it also troubled me a lot. I felt Philadelphia was a city built upon the suffering of many communities, but also built upon the wisdom and love of many communities. I lived both of those truths and they co-existed in my life, and books were part of that, big time. So I really love that my book now comes to Philadelphia."
—Quiara Alegría Hudes, One Book, One Philadelphia 2022 featured author
To celebrate the launch of the 20th season of One Book, please join us at the Parkway Central Library on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. for a conversation between Quiara Alegría Hudes, the author of the 2022 featured selection My Broken Language, and Lilliam Rivera, the author of Never Look Back, the 2022 young adult companion title.
RSVP online for the kickoff celebration!
From April 27 to June 15, dozens of free events for all ages inspired by the featured books will take place citywide, including book discussions, storytimes, panels, gardening events, art, music, and dance workshops, and more. In the meantime, you can learn more about the 2022 featured titles, and find discussion guides and resources to accompany them on the One Book Resources webpage.
Here's to all that has been, and all that is to come!