Free Library announces One Book, One Philadelphia selection: 'Another Brooklyn'

"Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline Woodson is Philadelphia's choice for the next citywide reading program.

A book jacket to the left, the author to the right

The One Book One Philadelphia selection for 2017 is Jacqueline Woodson's "Another Brooklyn." (Toshi Widoff-Woodson)

The Free Library of Philadelphia will announce its selection Thursday for the One Book, One Philadelphia citywide reading program: “Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson.

Woodson has written many books, most of them for younger readers. She is perhaps best known for “Brown Girl Dreaming,” which won the National Book Award three years ago and has been chosen by other cities for community reading programs in other cities.

“Another Brooklyn” (2016) was written for adults. It’s about a woman returning home to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral and remembering her childhood there.

“It’s a very specific story and then I think — just like ‘Brown Girl Dreaming’ — it’s also universal story,” said Woodson. “I’m excited that people are getting that, are picking up on that.”

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“Another Brooklyn” is specifically about the Bushwick neighborhood, circa 1970s, but Woodson said anyone can get a foothold in it.

“Everyone gets what they need from a book, when they need it,” she said. “I wanted to write a good story about the respect of a place and the people that came before and the people who carry that history. But that’s not necessarily what everyone is going to get from it.”

Library officials selected “Another Brooklyn,” in part, because the library can program a wide variety of events around the book’s themes — including gentrification, music, memory, and growing up a girl in an urban environment.

“There was so much that resonated in the book about the African-American diaspora and growing up female and one issue on top of another,” said library president Siobhan Reardon. “Plus, Jackie Woodson is such a beautiful, lyrical, and powerful writer.”

The Free Library will make 2,500 copies of “Another Brooklyn” available to readers through branch libraries and schools immediately. The One Book, One Philadelphia program of events, talks, and workshops will begin early next year.

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