New Initiative Invites Houstonians to Read Together

New Initiative Invites Houstonians to
Read Together

– May 15, 2023 – Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Public Library (HPL) announce a new citywide reading program: One Houston, One Book: Diverse Stories for a Diverse City. This new program highlights stories that celebrate our diverse backgrounds and experiences. Featured books are aimed at readers’ interest by age; they include Yangsook Choi’s “The Name Jar,” now considered a children’s literature classic; “Punching the Air,” a novel in verse for teens, by Ebi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam; and a memoir, “Once I Was You,” by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.“Houston is the most diverse city in the country, but one in three adults in Houston has low literacy skills,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This program will help Houstonians come together and support each other through reading and conversation. Having discussions about our varied life experiences will celebrate everything that makes Houston special.” The Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy, which has become a national model for how cities can have an impact on low literacy rates, is providing additional books for the program to engage individuals reading at various proficiency levels.

Library Director Rhea Brown Lawson calls One Houston, One Book, “A citywide celebration of diversity and equitable access to HPL’s free resources and services. We eliminated late fines for overdue items this year, and with barriers removed, we designed a reading program to bring Houstonians together like never before. Celebrating Houston’s diversity and HPL’s free access is what One Houston, One Book is all about.”

One Houston, One Book launches May 15 and continues through September with programming that includes block parties, read-ins, library open houses, book clubs and storytimes at library locations. The authors of the selected books are visiting Houston for a series of special events.

Co-authors Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam discuss their novel for teens on June 13. Yangsook Choi shares her story for children virtually on July 27. Maria Hinojosa reflects on immigrant experiences in her memoir on July 29.


One Houston, One Book promotes literacy, diversity, and community conversations by encouraging Houstonians to read and discuss books with a common theme. The program features three book selections; one for children, one for teens and one for adults. Additional books are chosen by the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy to engage learners at varying reading levels.


Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 26 Neighborhood Libraries, five Regional Libraries, three History Research Centers, two Express Libraries, the HPL Mobile Express, three TECHLink locations and a satellite location at the Children’s Museum of Houston. The Downtown Houston flagship facility, Central Library, along with the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, anchors this constellation of service points. HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs in an increasingly digital age. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at, call 832-393-1313, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @houstonlibrary or on Instagram @houstonpubliclibrary.


Launched in 2019 by Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL) advocates for adult literacy and spreads awareness of the impact literacy has on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. MOAL promotes and builds capacity for adult literacy and education in the City of Houston. Collaborating with a network of over 40 adult literacy providers, MOAL focuses on basic skills, financial and health literacy, digital literacy development, workforce skills development, and services to people with learning differences. For more information on the Houston Adult Literacy Blueprint visit