March 11, 2009

House On Mango Street Spring 2009 One Book, One Chicago Selection

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley announced today that Chicago-born Sandra Cisneros novel, "The House on Mango Street," will be the 16th selection for Chicago’s citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago.

"One Book, One Chicago has been a great success and has come to be viewed as the national model for creating similar programs. We look at it as a way to bring people together in all our neighborhoods and to foster the kind of communication that can only help make Chicago a better place to live, work and raise a family," Daley said in remarks at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street.

First published in 1984 and set in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, this award-winning story of a young girl’s quest to find her sense of “home” will resonate with all Chicagoans.

"The beauty of the story, to me, is that while this young girl searches for a 'home' of her own somewhere in the world, she fully appreciates her family and neighbors and understands that they will always be a part of who she is," said Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey. "I think that is what all of us feel about Chicago, that no matter where we go, this city is always a part of us."

"The story of Esperanza and her search for identity has been enjoyed by readers for 25 years and was awarded the American Book Award in 1985. Vintage Books is issuing a 25th anniversary edition of the book, which will be available in bookstores and all Chicago Public Library locations this month.

The Library is proud to be able to share this touching story with all Chicagoans, whether they are discovering it for the first time or re-reading it - it represents our city of neighborhoods."

Throughout its 136 year history, the Chicago Public Library has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority. One Book, One Chicago began in the fall of 2001, to encourage all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, and discuss a great piece of literature with friends and neighbors.

Chicago Public Library librarians have created resource guides and will conduct book discussions across the city. Thousands of Chicagoans are expected to participate in book discussion groups, lectures, dramatic readings and cultural events.

"Chicago's place in the global economy and the quality of life in our city will be determined in large part by our children's ability to read with comprehension. One Book, One Chicago reminds us we can't just tell young people reading is important -- adults have to set the example," Daley said.

"When I became Mayor, most of our libraries were housed in small, rented storefronts with poor book collections and no technology. Hours of operation were short.

"But thanks to the efforts of many people working together, we have been able to create rich book collections in all 79 libraries, add state of the art technology to all libraries and build and open 52 new libraries since 1989."

"The Chicago Public Library has become a model for library systems across the country, because we've shown how building a library can make our neighborhoods stronger and improve the quality of life for all our residents," the Mayor said.

Daley outlined 4 simple ways everyone can make Chicago a city of readers and demonstrate that reading is a priority:

  • Get a library card and use it
  • Read aloud with a child for twenty minutes a day
  • Have books in your home
  • And get caught in the act of reading

One Book, One Chicago can be experienced in virtually every Chicago neighborhood throughout April. This includes book discussions, film screenings, lectures, and panel discussions.

Sandra Cisneros will appear on April 14 at the Harold Washington Library Center to read from the book and discuss her prestigious career.

As a prelude to their fall production of Tanya Saracho's adaptation of the book, Steppenwolf Theatre will host a staged reading of The House on Mango Street in their Upstairs Theatre on April 27th. Ms. Saracho will also be featured at the Proyecto Latina monthly reading series featuring Latina artists on April 20 at Radio Arte.

In acknowledgement of April as National Poetry Month and in partnership with CityVerse, CPL's initiative to promote poetry across Chicago, a series of free poetry writing workshops will be offered across the city, focusing on themes of neighborhood and community. The Guild Complex will present a bilingual poetry reading of Latino poets on April 15.

A community forum, presented with The Guild Complex and Latinos Progresando, will be held at CPL's Logan Square Branch on April 29, bringing together Chicagoans of all backgrounds in a "town hall" meeting to discuss the topic of immigration. DePaul University will host a lecture on the same subject on April 21.

DePaul University's Department of English will offer a ten-week, graduate level course to explore the book beginning March 30. For more information, including course tuition, visit or call 773.325.7485.

Additionally, Shimer College, located on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, will hold a staged reading and discussion. One Book, One Chicago discussions will also take place at select Barnes and Noble locations, Literacy Chicago, Gerber/Hart Library, Wright College, Instituto Cervantes, Harold Washington College and Loyola University. Nearly 2,000 copies of The House on Mango Street, in both English and Spanish are available at Chicago Public Library locations. At seven Chicago Public Library branches, patrons can check out a Book Club in a Bag which contains eight copies of the novel and resource guides. One Book, One Chicago programs are open to the public and free of charge. For an up-to-date schedule of events, call 312.747.8191 or visit

The Spring 2009 One Book, One Chicago is presented by the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Motorola Foundation and Northern Trust. Additional support is provided by the Chicago Tribune, National Museum of Mexican Art, DePaul University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Steppenwolf Theatre and the Park Hyatt Chicago.

The Chicago Public Library is comprised of the Harold Washington Library Center, two regional libraries and 76 neighborhood branches. All locations provide free access to a rich collection of books, DVDs, audio books and music; the Internet and WiFi; sophisticated research databases, many of which can be accessed from a home or office computer; newspapers and magazines; and continue to serve as cultural centers, presenting the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.

One Book, One Chicago programs are open to the public and free of charge. For an up-to-date schedule of events, visit or call 312.747.8191.

Now celebrating its 135th year, the Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology.

For more information, please visit the website or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at 312.747.4050.