Tonight marks the official beginning of One Book season! Join us for an evening of reading, conversation, and performance at Parkway Central Library to kick off eight inspired weeks of programming across the city.
Tonight's event is free and open to the public! Following a reading from featured selection Another Brooklyn, author Jacqueline Woodson and WHYY’s Assistant News Director Katie Colaneri will speak about identity, shifting cultural landscapes, and other themes Woodson’s writing for all ages covers.
Woodson, a National Book Award winner for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, is the acclaimed author of more than 30 books for children and young adults. She has long been a friend of the Free Library, participating in the Author Events Series and in the 2016 One Book, One Philadelphia season, when her generational picture book Show Way was the children’s selection. Another Brooklyn is her first novel for adults in 20 years.
Because of the breadth of Woodson’s work, for the first time One Book’s children’s and middle-grade companion books will be by the same author as the featured selection. The middle-grade companion book, Woodson’s memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming, recalls a childhood love of words, libraries, stories, and early attempts to write. The children’s companion book, This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration, tells the story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration, starting with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree that, little does she know, will be passed down for three generations.
The evening will also include a performance inspired by Another Brooklyn from 2016–2017 Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher, with members of her band, The Afroeaters. They will perform a unique blend of poetry and song in celebration of "black girl magic" in art across centuries.
Wisher has been a champion of both poetry and education in our city. She directed and hosted the second annual Poetic Address to the Nation, a poetic collaboration inspired by stories from across the country that was part of the 2016 U.S. Department of Arts and Culture’s People’s State of the Union. She also organized a beautiful evening of poetry and performance at the Museum of Art, creating a "City of Poetry" that featured several of the city’s most dynamic literary organizations, who created interactive poetry game stations. And she created the free, pop-up Outbound Poetry Festival at 30th Street Station, a collaboration with Amtrak, Philadelphia Contemporary, Kelly Writers House, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University creative writing programs. Commuters, passersby, and poetry aficionados alike enjoyed special performances from poets and musicians.
Throughout her service as our city’s Poet Laureate, she upheld poetry as a public art and a powerful creative force. It is fitting that she and Jacqueline Woodson—powerful forces in the world of words—will share the Parkway Central stage tonight.
You won't want to miss the magic!
And get your calendar ready, because what follows the kickoff is an incredible eight weeks of programs. There are film screenings, writing workshops, musical performances, lectures from experts, and even cooking classes, all thematically tied by One Book featured selection Another Brooklyn. And because One Book, at its heart, is a citywide book club—sprinkled throughout the season are book chats, discussions, talks, and panels, dotting every neighborhood to help Philadelphians bond over a shared reading experience.
Tonight’s Kickoff event will set the stage for a very exciting, engaging, and thought-provoking eight weeks to come.