Announcing the 2023 One Book, One Philadelphia Selections

By Bridget G. RSS Wed, February 15, 2023

One Book, One Philadelphia is a signature project of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and civic dialogue by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. 

From April 20–June 22, dozens of free-to-the-public events, discussions, and creative workshops will center on the following titles:


Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Willis Wu is a background actor in his own life. In Charles Yu’s National Book Award-winning novel, written as a screenplay, Willis is simply filler. As Generic Asian Man on the cop show Black and White, he plays an often wordless part, but he wants to be so much more. He dreams of becoming Kung Fu Guy. It's the best role possible for a man who looks like him — or so he thinks. Willis and his loved ones try to live meaningful lives in a cultural scene that was not created for them, making spaces for humor and love in their little single occupancy apartments above the Golden Palace restaurant. Soon, Willis finds his dream becoming reality. He begins to wonder about the cost of becoming Kung Fu Guy — and what role is truly right for him.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Middle-grade readers are invited to join the conversation with American Born Chinese. This funny graphic novel features three stories. The Monkey King, a master of kung fu and a notable figure in Chinese fables, wants to be a god. Jin Wang moves across the country and has to join a new third grade class, where he worries about fitting in. And Danny, a popular white kid, struggles to understand his embarrassing and offensive cousin Chin-Kee, a cartoonish Chinese stereotype who won’t leave him alone. A surprising twist brings the stories together. Maybe their individual problems aren’t so distinct — or new — after all.

Drawn Together by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat

Drawn Together by Minh Lê; illustrated by Dan Santat

In this children’s book, a child and his grandfather spend a day together. They don’t speak the same language until their love for art connects them. Sometimes you don’t need words to find community.

Please check back in April for the full events calendar, and review the Programming Guide for an overview of the 2023 One Book, One Philadelphia season, discussion questions for Interior Chinatown, and other resources.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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Looking forward to reading this year selection!
Angela Arrey - Philadelphia
Saturday, February 18, 2023

Looking forward to hearing from the author. Seems like an interesting choice.
Judith Price - Wynnewood
Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The audiobook of this is superbly done--if you have a reading limitation like low vision, dyslexia, blindness, or a physical restriction, get signed up with FLP's free LAMP service and download Interior Chinatown instantly! Joel de la Fuente does an outstanding reading, witty & nuanced, and the production is top-notch, the same recording you'd hear on Audible.
Flaco - West Poplar
Thursday, February 23, 2023

great choices for this year! excited to read them.
Park Frost - Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

I am excited to share the books for One Book One Philadelphia with my west Philadelphia Reading Captains. Partnering with the libraries and public schools to improve the reading of children in grades pre-K-3rd grade. Our organization is connected with Read by the 4th and looks forward to connecting with you. The Reading Captains do read-aloud, at schools and early learning centers, as well as, distribute books to children to have their own libraries at home. We want the parents to have books as well, that is why one book one Philadelphia is a great match for us. Parents can model reading for their children at home.
Brenda Bailey - Philadelphia
Wednesday, March 1, 2023