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One Story to Celebrate Citywide

By Mayor Marsha McLean

Post Date:02/26/2019 9:31 AM

Book clubs have grown in popularity over the past few years, and readers are now discovering new and different ways to consume literature. Forbes Magazine reports –book clubs mesh well with today’s online world. When reading your favorite websites, listening to a podcast or scanning your social media feeds, a book recommendation can equal a book read, with just one click.

In fact Instagram has become a treasure trove of book recommendations, where the hashtag #bookstagram has 26 million posts and counting. These online book clubs are gaining ground – and still offer some of the same benefits of a more traditional, in person experience.

One of my favorite aspects of a book club is it inspires me to read books I would not normally be drawn to. Also, some books need to be discussed. Having the opportunity to share your interpretation, or potential hidden meanings, can open up a whole new perspective on the story. Whether online or in person, book clubs create connections. You meet new and interesting people, and engage in conversations you would not have otherwise.

The City of Santa Clarita is once again expanding on the model of a book club, with our One Story One City program. A book is selected to be discussed and celebrated during the entire month of March with free events and programs. The goal of the One Story One City program is to get everyone in Santa Clarita to read and discuss the same book. Imagine taking a local book club, and then inviting everyone in the City to take part; that’s what this event aspires to become.

The selected story for this year’s citywide reading program is perhaps one of the most moving books ever selected: “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See. A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, this book paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region in the mountains of China. It explores the lives of the people who live there, and celebrates the bond of family.

I can’t wait for you to read the book and share your reactions and thoughts on the story. Stop by your local Santa Clarita Public Library branch to pick up a copy. The book is also available as an e-book and audio book. Due to the nature of some of the topics covered in the book, this story is recommended for adults, and not really suitable for young readers under the age of 16.

Once you read the book, it’s easy and free to join the discussion! Starting in March, the program will kick off with a unique opportunity to hear the author speak right here in Santa Clarita! A presentation by author Lisa See will be held on March 2, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Newhall Family Theatre. Lisa will share her research process, highlights from the book and answer your questions.

More exciting events themed around the book during the month of March include an ancient Chinese tea ceremony, a “Make and Take” tea cake class, a Pu’er tea presentation and tasting, a genealogy workshop, a documentary about international adoption, and a special musical performance of the Chinese zither/guzheng instrument.

The One Story One City program is a wonderful way to use one story to build a sense of community and promote literacy.  I encourage all of you to take part in this program and take a journey into this story about tradition, tea farming, and the enduring connection between mothers and daughters.

The One Story One City program is presented by the Santa Clarita Public Library, in partnership with The Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library and Barnes & Noble.  To learn more about the program, please visit the One Story One City website at

Mayor Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at
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