One Book, One Watertown

Diptych showing a book with the text Big Girl and a person smiling.

This year's One Book, One Watertown selection questions who is permitted to take up space. Big Girl by Lambda Literary Award-winning, Harlem native Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, is a lyrical coming-of-age story set to the rich soundtrack of 1990s Harlem.  

From every direction, Malaya is told to shrink herself. Her mother drags her to Weight Watchers at the young age of eight, doctors push risky weight loss procedures, and classmates harass and taunt her. In this intimate, unflinching, and poetic portrayal of Black girlhood, Malaya slowly begins to find her footing in her own skin through her art, her friendships, and first love. Where the world at large seeks to shrink her body, her Blackness, her queerness, her desires, and her neighborhood, Malaya dares to imagine space for her to be her full self. Of this rich, acclaimed book, author Kiese Laymon says, Big Girl is “a new American classic that we as a country and a culture desperately need."

We love this book and think you will too. We're thrilled to announce that Sullivan will join us for an exclusive virtual author talk on March 15!

Big Girl is already available in the Minuteman catalog. Extra copies are available on the second floor of WFPL, across from the Reference Desk. eAudiobook copies are available instantly through the Library's free Hoopla app and eBook copies can be reserved through the free Overdrive app.

Button with text Borrow Book links to library catalog record for book Big Girl
Button with text Borrow eAudiobook links to Hoopla audiobook for Big Girl
Button with text Borrow eBook links to OverDrive catalog record for ebook Big Girl
Button with text Browse Programs links to One Book programs list

March 2023: In-Person and Virtual Programs

In March, 2023, the Library will host book discussions, guest lectures, theatre, trivia, a dance party and a live concert, all inspired by this year's One Book selection. Join us at the Library or from the comfort of your own home! 


Book cover for Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Community Book Discussion

Wednesday, 3/1 | 7 PM

A person in yellow glasses looking at camera in a white room.

Self-Healing Through Art Therapy with Elisandra Lopes

Saturday, 3/4 | 2:30 PM 
Registration required.

Book cover for Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (2)

Virtual Community Book Discussion

Wednesday, 3/8 | 7 PM  | via Zoom
Registration required.


A person smiling sitting on a grassy lawn.

Emotional Ride with Ephiteo Evans

Saturday, 3/11 | 2:30 PM
Registration required.

A person with arm above head looking down covered in purple and green light.

Live at the Library: Brooklynn

Sunday, 3/12 | 2:30 PM 

A person with long blue hair smiling on a yellow background.

An Evening with Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Author of Big Girl

Wednesday, 3/15 | 7 PM | via Zoom
Registration required.


A tile that says 90s with a stack of tapes in foreground.

'90s Trivia

Tuesday, 3/21 | 7 PM | via Zoom
Registration required.

A black and white logo that reads New Rep Theatre.

Big Girl Stories with the New Rep 

Saturday, 3/25 | 2:30 PM
More information coming soon!



Stream WFPL's Big Girl-Inspired Music Collection!

Inspired by our community read Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan: Body positive artists and music that encourage you to take up space. Music is a big part of the book so we've also included artists that were referenced in the story as well as a healthy helping of '90s throwbacks. 

Button with the text Listen on Hoopla links to hoopla collection with streaming music Opens in new window



About our Community Read

Each year, the Watertown Free Public Library chooses a book, encourages everyone in the community to read it along with us, and hosts a variety of programs related to the book, its setting, and its themes. This community reading program is known as One Book, One Watertown.

Selected titles are usually announced in mid to late December, and hundreds of copies of the book become available for borrowing at the beginning of the calendar year. Programs take place during the month of March.


Past Titles

In 2023, the Watertown Free Public Library will present its 15th One Book, One Watertown community reading program. Here are the titles we’ve presented in the past:

  • 2022 - Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • 2021 - The Humans by Matt Haig
  • 2020 - The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
  • 2019 - The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • 2018 - Refuge by Dina Nayeri
  • 2017 - Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • 2016 - The Race Underground by Doug Most
  • 2015 - The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
  • 2014 - [No selection, program moved to March]
  • 2013 - WOOL by Hugh Howey
  • 2012 - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 2011 - Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
  • 2010 - March by Geraldine Brooks
  • 2009 - Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
  • 2008 - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri