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