The Tradition

"I begin with love, hoping to end there," Jericho Brown writes in this Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection that weaves national history with the deeply personal.

The Tradition challenges how and why we have become accustomed to terror, from mass shootings to intimate partner violence to racialized violence against Black and brown people. Challenging fears and beliefs handed down through generations, these powerful poems explore experiences of Blackness, queerness, masculinity, family, spirituality, and the natural world. Brown invites readers to experience poems like music: not searching for meaning every step of the way in the lyrics, but following along and letting sound and feelings emerge. He invites us to find new ways of thinking, healing, and re-envisioning our world.

Young readers will join the conversation with youth companion titles The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (grades 5-8) and Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins and Bryan Collier (K-4).

An eight-week virtual programming season will feature dozens of free events for all ages, including book circles, panel discussions, film screenings, art, music, writing, and movement workshops, performances, poetry readings, and family and children's activities.

Hundreds of community partners contribute resources to help ensure a successful season of One Book, One Philadelphia. We are grateful to our sponsors and partners for their invaluable support of this beloved city tradition that engages thousands of readers.

The official One Book public reading period lasts from January to April 2021. Programming begins on April 14, with an online Kickoff Event with Jericho Brown in conversation with Philadelphia Poet Laureate, Trapeta B. Mayson.

One Book, One Philadelphia thanks the Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library for their endorsement of this year's featured selection.

Primary Sponsors

  • The Field
  • The Lenfest Foundation
  • PECO. An Exelon Company.


Media Partners

2021 One Book, One Philadelphia