One Book, One Michiana

One Book, One Michiana begins April 2023

Every year in April, the community comes together to read and discuss one book. We ask for your help to pick the next great book!

2023 Book Choice


by Mike Curato

Curato’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel tells the story of a boy named Aiden and his experience at Boy Scout Camp in the mid-90s. Aiden doesn’t think highly of himself, struggles to fit in at school, and has a rough home life. He thinks camp will be different–that is, until he develops romantic feelings for another boy. Beautifully drawn in black and white with bursts of symbolic color, Flamer brings to life Aiden’s struggle to not only find himself, but accept himself.
Flamer is available in print and online as an eBook via the Libby app.


Comic Strip Writing Workshops – With Gene Ha

Saturday, April 8
10:30 a.m. (Teen Session)
2:30 p.m. (Adult Session)
Community Learning Center – Beutter-Kernan Hall

Join us as we welcome award-winning artist and South Bend native, Gene Ha, back to South Bend! Gene will lead two comic strip writing workshops for teens and adults.
Gene Ha is the artist on Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons Vol 2 with writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, from DC Comics. He has won four Eisner awards for his art including Alan Moore’s Top 10 and sundry Marvel & DC superhero comics. Gene also writes and draws Mae from Oni Press.

SJCPL Online Book Club – Flamer by Mike Curato

Monday, April 10: 8:00 p.m.
Online via Zoom
Join the Library’s monthly Online Book Club and discuss the One Book, One Michiana read for 2023 with fellow community members. Flamer is available in print and OverDrive/Libby e-book.

Community Discussions on Mike Curato’s Flamer

Tuesday, April 11: 6:00 p.m.
Community Learning Center – Classroom B

Join us as we welcome community leaders to lead a panel discussion on the 2023 One Book, One Michiana selection, Flamer by Mike Curato.

Flamer Trivia Challenge!

Wednesday, April 12: 6:00 p.m.
Lakeville Branch

Tuesday, April 18, 6:00 pm.
River Park Branch

Tuesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m.
German Branch

Join us as we challenge your knowledge of the 2023 One Book, One Michiana selection! Winners of the Trivia challenge will receive their own copy of Flamer.
We will be meeting at different Library branches over the course of three weeks.

Shirts, Spaces, and Stories – Understanding LGBTQ American History with Material Culture

Wednesday, April 19 | 7:00 p.m.
Community Learning Center – Beutter-Kernan Hall

Explore two digital public history projects that aid in visualizing LGBTQ history in America with Dr. Eric Gonzaba.
“Mapping the Gay Guides” is an interactive map that pins locations from twenty years of Bob Damron’s Address Books, popular guides for gay travelers across the United States. “Wearing Gay History” exhibits t-shirt collections from archives around the world, displaying shirts used for both protest or pride.

About the speaker:
Dr. Eric Gonzaba is a historian of race and sexuality in the U.S. and an Assistant Professor of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He’s the founder of Wearing Gay History and co-founder of Mapping the Gay Guides, two award winning LGBTQ digital history projects.

An Evening with Mike Curato

Monday, April 24: 6:00 p.m.
Community Learning Center – Leighton Auditorium

Join us in welcoming award-winning author and illustrator, Mike Curato, to South Bend!
When writing his debut graphic novel, Curato drew on his own experiences to tell a difficult story with humor, compassion, and love. Hear more about his story. His debut title, Little Elliot, Big City, released in 2014 to critical acclaim, has won several awards, and has been translated into over ten languages. There are now five books in the Little Elliot series. His young adult graphic novel, Flamer, was awarded the 2020 Lambda Literary Award in the LGBTQ Young Adult category and the 2021 Massachusetts Book Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult.

Papers Alight: Contextualizing Mike Curato’s Flamer

Beginning April 3
Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries

This online exhibition displays rare materials from Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries’ collection that place Mike Curato’s semi-autobiographical teen graphic novel into historical and social context. Sources about the Boy Scouts, a sampling of Catholic pamphlets, and a selection of LGBTQ documents explore themes raised by the author that also resonate with contemporary audiences. Available at

Dinner & a Book with Mike Curato

Beginning April 29
WNIT Public Television

Our One Book author, Mike Curato, will be sharing a personal recipe on WNIT’s Dinner and a Book. Watch the full episode starting April 29 on

Hot Off the Press & Flaming Hot Reads

Library Variety Show Podcast
Apple Podcasts

Alex & Deb discuss read-alikes for the One Book, One Michiana selection, Flamer by Mike Curato, in two special episodes of the Library Variety Show podcast. Joining in on the conversation are Kris Springer, Customer Service Manager and leader of the SJCPL Online Book Club, and Kathy Burnette, owner of Brain Lair Books.

Complementary Resources

The Process

This year is the 13th annual One Book, One Michiana community reading program. Beginning in summer 2022, several One Book Committee members began discussing over forty books from different categories.

The committee unanimously agreed to select a book that centers on the LGBTQ experience of teens. The goal was to choose a well-written, timely, and deeply meaningful work that provides insight and understanding through the author’s experiences. Committee members diligently read and discussed the books together. In June, they narrowed the list down to twelve, and in July, they chose the five final titles. With the help of community partners, the Library recruited eight community readers to read all five books and select the top three.

In September, the community readers met with the One Book Committee members to discuss the books, and they chose the three final titles. Finally, community members voted on the final three titles and chose the 2023 book.

Previous titles

2022 – Just Mercy
2021 – True Grit
2019 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2018 – The Distance Between Us
2017 – Devil In a Blue Dress
2016 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
2015 – The Night Circus
2014 – Frankenstein
2013 – Killer Angels
2012 – Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
2011 – Rocket Boys
2010 – To Kill a Mockingbird

“Flamer” by Mike Curato

“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo

“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

One Book, One Michiana is sponsored by

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