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One Book, One San Diego: FAQs & 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, 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.


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?


  • 1. Author is alive.
  • 2. The book has professional reviews, is currently in print, and readily available in large quantities (not print-on-demand/not self-published).
  • 3. Published during or after 2016.


FOR ADULTS (One Book, One San Diego)

  • 1. Story (fiction or nonfiction) is of high literary quality, and has a clear, compelling narrative or argument.
  • 2. Themes resonate with local and/or global communities, and people of all backgrounds.
  • 3. Inspires discussion, conversations, and action.
  • 4. Available in paperback and hardcover.
  • 5. Suitable for high school study and up.
  • 6. Preferred: available in Spanish translation

FOR TEENS (One Book for Teens)

  • 1. Appropriate for readers 12 and up.
  • 2. Bonus: Available with illustrations or as a graphic novel.
  • 3. Bonus: Available in Spanish translation.

FOR KIDS (One Book for Kids)

  • 1. Appropriate for readers ages 4 to 10.
  • 2. Bonus: Available in Spanish translation.


  • 1. Appropriate for readers 12 and up.
  • 2. If a Spanish translation is not available of the adult selection, a book that is available in Spanish will be chosen that discusses similar themes.

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 authors of the 2021 One Book, One San Diego selections will visit San Diego to participate in One Book, One San Diego events during the fall of 2021 through the spring of 2022. Additional events related to the featured books will also take place during this time.

What organizations partner with this program?

Additional One Book, One San Diego community partners include San Diego City College, Hoover High School, San Diego State University's Love Library, University of San Diego's Copley Library, Juvenile Court Book Club, Escondido Public Library, Chula Vista Public Library, Point Loma Nazarene University's Ryan Library, Asociación de Bibliotecarios de Baja California, UC San Diego's Geisel Library, San Diego Council on Literacy, Oceanside Public Library, Worldview Project, and Deaf Community Services of San Diego.

If you have further questions about One Book, One San Diego, contact Trisha Richter, KPBS Director of Grants and Engagement at