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One Book, One San Diego

One Book One San Diego logo.

One Book, One San Diego is a community reading program. The purpose of the program is to bring together our community and encourage residents to join together in the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.

2021 One Book, One San Diego

2021 One Book covers

The 2021 One Book, One San Diego selections are:

Check back soon for more information on related events, programs, and engagement activities between Fall 2021 - Spring 2022. Topics will be centered around book themes including disability rights, human dignity, and the power of activism.


While you wait, please enjoy the following related resources:


Upcoming Events

cover of When Stars are Scattered
Thursday, November 4, 2021 | 7:00 p.m. | Virtual Event 
Join KPBS and the San Diego County Library for a virtual event with Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed where they'll discuss this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man (Omar) who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. Virtual Event-Check back here later for more details.

cover of All the Way to the Top
Thursday, February 3, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. | Virtual Event
Join KPBS and the San Diego Public Library for a virtual event with the books' author Annette Bay Pimentel, and special guest Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins the star of this inspiring story.  Check back here for more details about this virtual event! Visit

Past Event

Photo of Being Heumann book cover and Judith Heumann
Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
This is a virtual event. Please register here.

KPBS presents a special VIRTUAL event with disability rights activist Judith Heumann, author of "Being Heumann," the 2021 One Book, One San Diego selection. "Being Heumann" is a story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn’t built for all of us and of one woman’s activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann’s lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society. Candid, intimate, and irreverent, Judy Heumann’s memoir about resistance to exclusion invites readers to imagine and make real a world in which we all belong.

"Being Heumann" may be purchased online from The Library Shop. Proceeds support the entire San Diego Public Library System.

One Book, One San Diego is a partnership, led by KPBS, with the San Diego Public Library, the San Diego County Library, San Diego State University, One Book Sin Fronteras and more than 25 others. For more information about One Book, One San Diego, please visit:

THIS IS A VIRTUAL EVENT, free to the public. Links will be provided in your confirmation email and event reminders. No other registration is required.

CloudLibrary eBook and eAudiobooks of this years’ selections as well as previous selections can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions & Selection Criteria

What is One Book, One San Diego?

In its 15th year, One Book, One San Diego is a community reading program. It is a partnership between KPBS, San Diego Public Library, and the San Diego County Library, and a long list of other community partners found below. The purpose of the program is to bring together our community and encourage residents to join together in the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. The program also encourages participation in related events, discussions of the ideas raised in the featured books, and examination of how these ideas connect with our daily lives and local communities.

How is the book chosen?

The process for selecting a One Book title is designed for maximum community participation. Residents of San Diego and Imperial County and Baja California are invited to nominate books through online and paper submissions.

The nomination period takes place in early spring. During a set amount of time, the nomination form is available on KPBS' website, and paper forms are available in all library locations.

The One Book Advisory Committee reviews all book nominations and select a title they believe will best meet the One Book criteria and the goals of the program.

What are the book criteria?

  • Story (fiction or nonfiction) that is of high literary quality, and has a clear, compelling narrative and well-developed characters.
  • Themes resonate with local and/or global communities, and people of all backgrounds.
  • Inspires discussion, conversations, and action.
  • Available in paperback and hardcover.
  • Preferred: available in Spanish translation.
  • Author is alive.
  • The book has professional reviews, must be currently in print and readily available in large quantities (not print-on-demand).
  • Suitable for high school study and up.

Who is on the Advisory Committee?

The One Book Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from KPBS and our community collaborative of partners, as well as college and high school educators, librarians, and various community representatives.

You ask that only books with "professional reviews" be nominated. What does this mean?

A professional review of a book is one that appears in a reputable publishing magazine, a major national newspaper, or a literary journal. Examples of professional reviews are found in: the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, the Bloomsbury Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Iowa Review, etc. (Note that this list is not exhaustive, but is meant to provide examples of professional reviews.)

When are the author events?

The author of the featured book will visit San Diego to participate in One Book, One San Diego events during the fall of 2021. Additional events related to the featured book including film screenings, performing arts, discussion programs will also take place in the fall of 2021.

If you have further questions about One Book, One San Diego, contact us at

Previous Selections

2020 One Book, One San Diego

They Called Us Enemy Book Cover and headshot of George Takei

Photo Credit: George Takei

The 2020 One Book, One San Diego selection, "They Called Us Enemy" by George Takei.

One Book, One San Diego is our region's premier literary program, presented in partnership between KPBS and over 80 public libraries, service organizations and educational institutions. Now in its 14th year, the purpose is to bring our community closer together through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.

Each year, One Book, One San Diego features a literary work for adults, young adults, kids, and Spanish language readers. For adult readers, Spanish readers and young adult readers; this year’s selection is They Called Us Enemy (Nos Llamaron Enemigo) by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker. For children, the selection is Write to Me by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao.



2019 One Book, One San Diego

One Book, One San Diego - Author Rebecca Makkai

Photo Credit: Benjamin Busch

The 2019 One Book, One San Diego selection, "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai.

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Guide to "The Great Believers"

2018 One Book, One San Diego

Congressman Jon Lewis with March book cover

Credit: Carlos Gonzalez / The1point8

The 2018 One Book, One San Diego selection, March: Book One, by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.

This graphic novel is Congressman John Lewis' first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a climax on the steps of City Hall. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington D.C., and from receiving beatings from state troopers, to receiving the Medal of Freedom awarded to him by Barack Obama, the first African-American president.

Guide to "March: Book One"

2017 One Book, One San Diego

Author Chris Bohjalian with his book "The Sandcastle Girls."

In 2017 One Book, One San Diego was proud to present The Sandcastle Girls by New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian.

The Sandcastle Girls is a multi-generational tale that spans nearly 100 years.  It is initially set in Syria during World War I and focuses on the Armenian Genocide. “These days it is very important for me to tell people that I am the grandson of two Middle Eastern immigrants,” Bohjalian said. “We are a nation of refugees and immigrants. The novel is set in Aleppo - yes, that Aleppo that has broken all of our hearts the last five years - and the city as it appears in the novel exists now only in romance and memory.”

Teen/Tween Selection: I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached 
Kids Selection: My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
One Book Sin Fronteras Selection: La Bastarda de Estambul by Elif Shafak

Guide to "The Sandcastle Girls"

2016 One Book, One San Diego

Author Carlos Eire

In 2016 One Book, One San Diego was proud to present Waiting for Snow in Havana by National Book Award-winning author, Carlos Eire.

Waiting for Snow in Havana is Carlos Eire’s beautiful, nostalgia-laced memoir of his childhood in Cuba, the country he left in 1962 at age 11. Using humor, magical realism and lyrical language, Eire paints a portrait of a childhood shattered forever by the Cuban Revolution. He was one of 14,000 Cuban children brought to the U.S. without their parents as part of Operation Peter Pan. He is now a professor of religion and history at Yale University.

Guide to "Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy"

2015 One Book, One San Diego

In 2015 One Book, One San Diego was proud to present The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Read the KPBS article to learn more about our 2015 author and book. The accompanying young adult (middle school) title is The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley and the children's companion title is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

2014 One Book, One San Diego

In 2014 One Book, One San Diego was proud to present Monstress: Stories by Lysley Tenorio. The accompanying young adult (middle school) title was American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and the children's companion title was Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore.

2013 One Book, One San Diego

In 2013 One Book, One San Diego was proud to present Geraldine Brooks' novel Caleb's Crossing. The accompanying young adult (middle school) and children's companion titles were Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris.