Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced the Syracuse Citywide Book Club series list for 2021. The Citywide Book Club began as a partnership with community agencies in 2018 to encourage literacy and civic engagement on social and civic issues.

The Citywide Book Club begins this month in April and continues through October. This is the first time Mayor Walsh will launch a series of books which will include books for all ages and selections that reflect quality of life themes of diversity and infrastructure for healthy urban cities.

“The Citywide Book Club gives us an opportunity to have community conversations on issues and topics that are important to our city. I’m excited about the focus on quality of life this year,” said Mayor Walsh. “It’s also about increasing reading and literacy, so the wide range of approaches to the topic among the recommended books is a great step forward.”

The book list includes:

Adult/Civic Selections

•   “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue

•   “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

•   “Soft City: Building Density for Everyday Life” by Jan Gehl and David Sim

•   “New Chocolate City: Hip-Hop Architecture in Washington, DC” by Sekou Cooke

Children/Young Adult Selections

       •  “I’m New Here” by Anne Sibley O’Brien

       •  “My Diary from Here to There” by Amada Irma Pérez

       •  “American Street” by Ibi Zoboi

This year, the Citywide Book Club will also be launched with community reading partners who will read along with their groups and help facilitate engagement online through guest blogging, Facebook Live readings, and online discussions. Confirmed community reading partners this season are:

  • Brent Sears, 41 Prospects
  • Joss Willsbrough, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York
  • Dr. Marcelle Haddix, Café Sankofa and Lender Center at Syracuse University
  • Toni Walsh, The Reading League
  • Leah Russell, Syracuse Peace Making Project
  • Felicia Castricone, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County

The City welcomes group involvement in this year’s book club and hopes to continue expanding book club partners who help make civic dialogue and program delivery possible. To learn about how to read along or become a partner, contact Emma Spector at More information will be made available on the City’s social media accounts and on the Syracuse Citywide Book Club page at

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