Philadelphia, PA - One Book, One Philadelphia(One Book) celebrates the kickoff of its fifth annual literacy program, again supported by lead sponsor Independence Blue Cross, with three special events on January 16th across the City that honor the featured selection, Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Published by Free Press), and its author, Dr. Carlos Eire. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy,winner of the 2003 National Book Award, is a memoir recounting Dr. Eire’s experience as one of 14,000 children airlifted from Cuba to Miami through Operation Pedro Pan in 1962 and his experiences in America.
This year’s One Book program also includes companion titles: Esperanza Rising, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Coming to America: the Story of Immigration, by Betsy Maestro. Both books provide children and adults with the opportunity to further understand the topic of immigration and engage in discussion about its history. The One Book program period will commence immediately at all 54 Free Library branches across the City where copies of the three selections will be available for free.
Today’s activities include three separate events: a kickoff lecture and book signing with Carlos Eire at 2:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia City Institute Branch of the Free Library on Rittenhouse Square, a read-aloud and discussion of Coming to America by Betsy Maestro at 3:00 p.m. at the Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Branch, and the One Book, One Philadelphia kickoff party at 6:30 p.m. at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, which sold out in under a week.
At the “sold out” Cuba Libre premiere event, guests will have an opportunity to get acquainted with Cuban culture while enjoying mojitos and Cuba Libre’s distinctive cuisine prepared by Executive Chef, Guillermo Pernot. Famed author, Dr. Carlos Eire, will sign books and recount some of his childhood experiences in pre-Castro Cuba. Guests will also be treated to the unveiling of an exhibition of Dr. Eire’s childhood photographs, which will remain on display throughout the nine-week One Book program. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. All proceeds will be donated to the One Book program, which contributes free books to schools in the Philadelphia area.
This year’s One Book calendar of events will feature a variety of author lectures, panel and book club discussions, exhibits, performances, and other activities from January 15, 2007 through March 15, 2007 and is available at all Library branches as well as on the library’s website, www.freelibrary.org .
In addition to its lead sponsor, Independence Blue Cross, One Book, One Philadelphia is sponsored by the following: the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, PECO, An Exelon Company, Pepper Hamilton, LLP, Verizon, WHYY, Arts and Culture, Harmelin Media, Cuba Libre, Citizens Bank, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, Paul and Kathy Addis, Temple University Health System, and the Hasssel Foundation.
One Book, One Philadelphiais a joint project of the Office of Mayor John F. Street and the Free Library of Philadelphia. The mission of the program is to promote reading, literacy, library usage, and community-building throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. This year, a record 375 Community Partners throughout the region are sponsoring and promoting events across the City to help underscore the importance of broadening the reach of the program to include as many participants as possible. Over 130 events are planned for the program period, including numerous Afro-Cuban dance performances, multiple movie screenings, a community discussion about immigration, and a panel on the history and future of Cuban politics. For more information on One Book’smany events, see www.freelibrary.org.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.