Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

And, The 2013 One Book Selection Is…

2013 One Book, One San Diego selection, "Caleb's Crossing"
2013 One Book, One San Diego selection, "Caleb's Crossing"

Inspired by a true story, "Caleb’s Crossing," by Geraldine Brooks, is narrated by a young woman named Bethia Mayfield, growing up in Martha’s Vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond. Bethia’s father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College.

One Book for Kids Selection:
The children's companion book for "Caleb’s Crossing" is"Jingle Dancer” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

The verdict is in. The new One Book, One San Diego selection has been chosen. Starting in October, this will be the book that the entire community will come together to read for one extraordinary purpose—to enrich our lives through reading, and discover new worlds while sharing a common experience.

A committee of 16 – comprised of experts, from both the San Diego Public and San Diego County Libraries, as well as KPBS staff, educators, and other literary enthusiasts – has pored through more than 550 nominations, representing a whopping 254 books. Genres reviewed ranged from fiction to nonfiction, science fiction to how-to’s. For the past six weeks, committee members met to discuss, share, and read, and ultimately they found one book that rose above all others.

And, the winning book title is:

“Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks

“Caleb’s Crossing” was chosen by the One Book committee because “it's a beautifully written, uniquely American story with themes that will encourage rich discussion across all ages and demographics," says One Book coordinator Clare Pister. "The book effectively transports the reader to a long-lost time and place, while maintaining relevancy to today through the characters, communities and issues it depicts. It’s a perfect selection for a program like One Book which seeks to bring our community closer through a multi-faceted learning experience inspired by a quality literary work.”

Karen Jacobs of Mission Hills nominated “Caleb’s Crossing,” and she couldn’t be more pleased with the results. “My ancestors came to America from Europe so for me "'Caleb's Crossing' represents my own heritage. But this author gave me more. Geraldine Brooks gave me a narration that allowed me to feel how it was to make your life in wilderness with one cow and one hoe. The book spoke of the importance of family and community but also the pressures of a close-knit community with very firm religious beliefs.”

Karen Jacobs nominated "Caleb's Crossing"
Karen Jacobs nominated "Caleb's Crossing"

Jacobs is a Rolling Reader volunteer and an avid reader. She has read all but one of the past One Book selections, and loves the program because it has “represented a chance for me to see the world through different eyes.” She believes the 2013 selection will resonate with our community in a multitude of ways.

“The added depth is the story of Caleb, an American Indian,” notes Jacobs. “His story is one of a young person coming of age at a time when old practices are challenged by what the new people bring. For him, it is the exposure to the Christian beliefs. Another theme that I enjoyed considering was the role of women in this colonial society. Bethia (the story’s narrator) had a seemingly hard life but those were the times of hard and long labor. Putting a meal together meant hours of work. Finally, I am reminded of why I am drawn to Geraldine Brook's books. This story, as are some of her others that I have read, is based on a true story. She has a way of making history alive for me. I think anyone would like to read such a book.”

Author Brooks is thrilled that one of her books has been selected, and looks forward to visiting San Diego.

"I'm delighted that San Diego has chosen ‘Caleb's Crossing,’” Brooks says. “It is exciting to think of a vibrant, contemporary city coming together to consider a story inspired by our shared past. I'm looking forward to returning to one of my favorite cities this fall."

"Caleb's Crossing" author, Geraldine Brooks
Randi Baird
"Caleb's Crossing" author, Geraldine Brooks

For each One Book selection there are many events planned, and this year is no exception. “We are condensing program activities into eight jam-packed weeks,” Pister states. “This will include book discussions, film screenings, expert lectures and panel discussions related to the book at locations throughout the county. We are also very excited about our new partnership with the San Diego County Library, which will be hosting One Book events and activities at its 33 branches. You can find out more by checking out the One Book page or by following us on Facebook.”

Pister adds, “In the next couple of weeks we’ll be announcing the children’s and young adult’s companion books to ‘Caleb’s Crossing.’ Stay tuned!”