Tom Karlo, KPBS’ General Manager

San Diego’s Local KPBS Television Broadcasting has led the One Book, One San Diego program for the last 11 years. Each year, one book is chosen among the countless others nominated across the region. By choosing this “one book,” OBOSD’s goal is bring the community of San Diego together by taking part in discussions centered around the book’s common themes. As OBOSD’s website states, “One Book, One San Diego is our region’s premier literacy program, presented in partnership between KPBS and over 80 public libraries, service organizations and educational institutions.”

In years past, the themes from the chosen adult category book would determine what accompanying young adult book and children’s book would then be chosen. For its 12th year, however, One Book, One San Diego has decided to change the decision process entirely, asking for nominations for all-three book categories individually, leading to independent decisions afterward. A fourth book category for Spanish speakers is also open for nominations, as the OBOSD program is in it’s 3rd year in the Baja, California area.

Last Tuesday, February the 13th, KPBS kicked off the One Book, One San Diego program with a Publisher Preview Party. Representatives from the likes of Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Sandra Dijkstra Literacy Agency presented books that they felt would fit OBOSD’s criteria.

KPBS’s general manager, Tom Karlo, gave the opening speech for the event. “This part of the program is about possibilities,” said Karlo in reference to the publisher party, since 39 books were to be presented as the possible-first nominations for OBOSD during this evening. “It begins tonight!”

A list of the 39 presented books are below:

“March: Book One, by John Lewis; Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, by Michelle Kuo; The Man Who Invented Christmas, by Les Standiford; New Boy, by Tracy Chevalier; The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, by Lindsey Lee Johnson; Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, by Yiyun Li; The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future, by Jim Robbins; My Patients and Other Animals: A Veterinarian’s Stories of Love, Loss, and Hope, by Suzy Fincham-Gray; Dear Martin, by Nic Stone; The Mothers, by Brit Bennett; Lucky Boy,  by Shanthi Sekaram; We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter; Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, by Bianca Marais; The Wanderers, by Meg Howrey; The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, by Francisco Cantú; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman; Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid; The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin; The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer; Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng; The Graybar Hotel, by Curtis Dawkins; An Unrestored Woman, by Shobha Rao; The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, by Maxine Hong Kingston; When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace, by Le Ly Hayslip; A Crown of Wishes, by Roshani Chokshi; When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon; Not Quite Narwhal, by Jessi Sima; The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead; The Nix, by Nathan Hill; Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann; The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez; American War, by Omar El Akkad; The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel; Tattoos on the Hear: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle; Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,  by Lisa See; The Bright Hour, by Nina Riggs; Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage, by Tilar J. Mazzeo; The Antlered Ship, by Dashka Slater; and Pocket Full of Colors, by Brigette Barrager.”

As you might have noticed, March: Book One, published by local IDW Publishing was the first on the list and the first book to be presented on behalf of Penguin Random House. Though this was the only graphic novel offered up for the adult book category, it thrilled me to see John Lewis’ story of the Civil Rights Movement blasted on the party’s big screen.

Nominations are currently open for all the book categories, ending March 13th. The chosen books will be announced in August 25th, at San Diego’s Festival of Books, located at Liberty Station, Point Loma.

If you want to learn more about the One Book, One San Diego program or nominate one of your favorite books that you feel would foster community discussions, visit their website at