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One Book for Teens

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One Book for Teens is a companion program to One Book, One San Diego, that is just for tweens and teens. In February, the community is asked to nominate titles the entire community should read together - for adults, teens and kids. The Children's and Young Adult Selection Committee reviews these nominations and ultimately selects a title they believe fits our selection criteria best. In the fall, KPBS and our community partners host events inspired by the book for teens, tweens and their families.

Let's Read Together!

The 2020 One Book Selection for Teens is...

One Book, One San Diego has announced the selections for the 2020 region-wide read: "They Called Us Enemy" by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker for adult readers, readers of Spanish and young adult readers.

2020 One Book, One San Diego selection for Adults and Teens:

2020 One Book, One San Diego selection for Adults and Teens: "They Called Us Enemy"

Where To Get The Book!

"They Called Us Enemy" may be purchased online from The Library Shop.

The Library Shop is a well-curated nonprofit book & gift shop catering to librarians, library lovers, literary obsessives and book nerds inside the Downtown Central Library. Proceeds support the entire San Diego Public Library System.

Past One Book for Teens Selections

"The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander

This coming-of-age novel is written in a mix of dynamic free verse and hip hop poetry. It tells the story of two basketball playing brothers and their family. As their winning season unfolds, things begin to change. When Jordan meets a girl, the twins’ bond unravels. A great read for middle grade students novel, especially reluctant readers, that bounces with rhythm and bursts with heart.

New York Times bestseller, Newbery Medal Winner, Coretta Scott King Honor Award 2015, YALSA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, Publishers Weekly Best Book, School Library Journal Best Book, Kirkus Best Book

March: Book One

2018 One Book for Teens Selection

"March: Book One," a graphic memoir by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. The first in a series of three, March: Book One, is a vivid first-hand account of the early life of the Civil Rights icon, John Lewis, including meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

"I Remember Beirut" by Zeina Abirached

2017 One Book for Teens Selection

Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel “A Game for Swallows,” returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories.

Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk.

With striking black-and-white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.

"The Dumbest Idea Ever!" By Jimmy Gownley

2015 One Book For Teens Selection

Jimmy Gownley's graphic novel memoir about the "dumb" idea that changed his life forever!

What if the dumbest idea ever turned your life upside down? At thirteen, Jimmy was popular, at the top of his class, and the leading scorer on his basketball team. But all that changed when chicken pox forced him to miss the championship game. Things went from bad to worse when he got pneumonia and missed even more school. Before Jimmy knew it, his grades were sinking and nothing seemed to be going right. How did Jimmy turn things around, get back on top at school, and land a date with the cutest girl in class?

Renowned comics creator Jimmy Gownley shares his adventures as he grows from an eager-to-please boy into a teenage comic book artist. This is the real-life story of how the DUMBEST idea ever became the BEST thing that ever happened to him.


(Available at Pickup Service locations or download from our website)

Activities included:

  • Cranes for Peace – Origami paper cranes are a symbol of peace. An ancient Japanese legend states that anyone folds one thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish, happiness, and eternal luck. Patrons will be encouraged to make and return paper cranes that will be displayed. Help us meet our goal of one thousand paper crane! The paper cranes can be returned via our book drops.

  • Haiku for You – Instruction sheet to encourage patrons to partake in this form of Japanese poetry that has been practiced for centuries. Return completed haiku at any SDPL book drop or scan or photograph your haiku and email to

  • All ages coloring page – Fun and interesting design with a Japanese motif for patrons to enjoy. Additional coloring pages will be available on the One Book One San Diego page on the library’s website.

"American Born Chinese" by Gene Luen Yang

2014 One Book For Teens Selection

Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. “American Born Chinese” is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he's the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn't want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he's in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee's annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny's reputation at school.

The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He's ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there's no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They're going to have to find a way―if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

Educational Resources

About One Book, One San Diego

Past One Book, One San Diego Selections

Last year we highlighted "Monstress" by Lysley Tenorio. Find out more about this book and other previous One Book selections, in our archives..

One Book, One San Diego: FAQs & Selection Criteria

One Book, One San Diego promises to be an exciting program in 2020. This article answers common questions about the program. Contact Margo Porras at with further questions.