The 2019 One Book, One Philadelphia program features one adult companion book and two youth companion books for children, teens, and family reading

Featured Book

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward's National Book Award-winning novel is set in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, where we follow the story of one mixed-race family facing the impacts of racism, poverty, and incarceration. "A harrowing panorama of the rural South" (Los Angeles Review of Books), and of America's collective history, Sing, Unburied, Sing travels through time—from the Jim Crow South to present day—as well as through timeless afterlives and the haunting world of spirits.

Leonie is dealing with deep grief and addiction following the violent and untimely death of her brother, Given, whose spirit visits her when she is high. Her 13-year-old son, Jojo, spends his days watching out for his toddler sister, Kayla, and listening to stories told by his grandfather, Pop. Jojo's grandmother Mam, who has worked to pass on her knowledge of natural medicines to Leonie, is dying of cancer.

When Jojo and Kayla's white father is released from prison, Leonie packs her friend and the children into the car for the long and dangerous journey north, through Mississippi, to Parchman Farm prison. There, Jojo meets Richie, a ghost his own age who connects him with his grandfather's past and illuminates the relationship between history and the present.

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Companion Books

Men We Reaped

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life—to addiction, accidents, suicide, and the adversity that can shadow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses one after another made her ask the question: Why? Men We Reaped is her urgent memoir about the lives of these men and an exploration of her community's history of systemic racism and economic struggle.

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Ghost Boys

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. Jerome meets the ghost of Emmet Till, who helps him process what has happened, and embarks on a journey that reveals how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life.

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Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Every Saturday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus far across town. Today, she answers his many questions and helps him see the beauty that's hiding in the world around them.

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Max and the Tag-Along Moon

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

Lush paintings capture the love between grandfather and grandson and their shared connection to the moon.

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One Book, One Philadelphia