One Book, One Watertown

Book cover for "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer and a photo of a person leaning.

This year's One Book, One Watertown selection challenges us to question how we engage with the natural world around us. Braiding Sweetgrass by botanist and Potawatomi Nation member Robin Wall Kimmerer is a beautifully-written 'slow read' that gifts insight about scientific knowledge, Indigenous wisdom, and the teachings of plants. 

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.” Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. 

This year, we encourage readers to go slowly and savor this beautiful book—either all at once, or in bits and pieces. Each chapter invites reflection, and we encourage you to participate in our free community programs (coming in March!) whether you've read some or all of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Green button with the text, "Read a Sample" links to a sample of "Braiding Sweetgrass"
Green button with the text, "Borrow the Book" links to library catalog page
Green button with the text, "Borrow the eBook" links to library catalog page
Green button with the text, "Borrow Audiobook" links to library catalog page

March 2022: In-Person and Virtual Programs

In March, 2022, the Library will host book discussions, guest lectures, craft programs, and art exhibit, 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! 


Photo of a bee entering a white flower.

Landscaping and Gardening for Wildlife with Mass Audubon

Thursday, 3/3 | 7 PM | via Zoom | Do you have a true green thumb? Meaning, are you taking into account the complete ecosystem around the land you care for? Learn how you can support local species by utilizing wildlife friendly gardening practices in your home, business, and community settings. Simple, easy actions like keeping fall leaves on the ground could have huge effects, and bring in more butterflies come spring! Learn about what to do and not to do – in your yard, garden, or even container, to support nearby birds, frogs, pollinators and more in a sustainable fashion.

Green button with the text, "Register" links to program registration page. Opens in new window


Movie cover for the film Gather shows an older person and a child in a field of tall grass.

Movie Screening: Gather

Monday, 3/7 | 6:30 PM | at WFPL | Join WFPL for a screening of the 2020 documentary Gather. Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

No registration required. 


Photo of a person with a pink scarf standing in an alley with grafitti behind them.

Gallery Reception: "The Art of Living Together" by Zhonghe (Elena) Li 

Wednesday, 3/9 | 6 PM | at WFPL | Come and celebrate "The Art of Living Together" exhibition, expressed with the Chinese papercutting and watercolors of Mount Auburn Artist-in-Residence Elena Li on the second floor of the library at a festive opening reception. The artist will be present to answer questions. Light refreshments provided. 

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

No registration required. 


Book cover for Braiding Sweetgrass shows a braid of wound grasses.

Community Book Discussion: Braiding Sweetgrass

Thursday, 3/10 | 11 AM | via Zoom | Come talk about this year’s One Book, One Watertown pick Braiding Sweetgrass with your community! Discussion will be guided by a librarian. No registration required for in person participation.

Green button with the text, "Register" links to program registration page. Opens in new window


Photo of a person standing in front of foliage wearing colorful clothes.

Twined Basketry and Eastern Woodland Art with Julia Marden

Saturday, 3/12 | 2:30 | at WFPL | Best known for her 17th century style twined basketry, Julia Marden is an internationally recognized artist who specializes in Eastern Woodland Art. The WFPL welcomes Julia for a talk and demonstration of her traditional work, including twining and painting. A member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation, her work has been featured in museums throughout New England.

 No registration required. 


Photo of a person standing before foliage, smiling.

Author Talk: “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans with Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Monday, 3/14 | 7 PM | via Zoom | WFPL and area libraries welcome Dina Gilio-Whitaker, the coauthor of “All The Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans to talk about the wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations. Gilio-Whitaker will talk about how historical narrative myths like “Columbus Discovered America,” “Indians Were Savage and Warlike,” and many others are rooted in fears and prejudice of European settlers and in the larger political agendas of a setter state aimed at acquiring Indigenous land tied to narratives or erasure and disappearance. 

Green button with the text, "Register" links to program registration page. Opens in new window


Book cover for Braiding Sweetgrass shows a braid of wound grasses.

Community Book Discussion: Braiding Sweetgrass

Thursday, 3/15 | 7 PM | at WFPL | Come talk about this year’s One Book, One Watertown pick Braiding Sweetgrass with your community! Discussion will be guided by a librarian. 

No registration required.


Photo of a person leaning on a tree with bright, colorful attire.

First Light Fun — Traditional Stories and Crafts with Annawon Weeden

Saturday, 3/19 | 2:30 PM | at WFPL | Learn about local Native American history, customs, and oral heritage with Mashpee Wampanoag educator, performer, and artist Annawan Weeden! Join us at the library for an afternoon of traditional native storytelling, crafts, and more. 

No registration required. Perfect for all ages, 8+.


Photo of a person playing piano, black and white.

Coffeehouse Concert: Ben Cosgrove

Sunday, 3/20 | 2 PM | at WFPL | Something comfortable, something cozy - come listen to relaxing music in WFPL's own coffee house! All concerts will be accompanied by hot coffee and fresh pastries from local business O’some Café. For One Book, One Watertown, WFPL is hosting composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Cosgrove. Ben Cosgrove is a traveling composer-performer whose music explores themes of landscape, place, and environment. 

Green button with the text, "Register" links to program registration page. Opens in new window


Person standing on a city street, looking into the camera.

Greening Your Energy Footprint with Nathan Phillips

Wednesday, 3/23 | 7 PM | via Zoom | Want to know what small changes you can implement to make a difference in energy consumption and combat global warming? Nathan Phillips, scientist and professor at Boston University, will walk you through some of the easy everyday choices you can make to green your energy footprint at home and elsewhere.

Green button with the text, "Register" links to program registration page. Opens in new window


Intricate red paper cut to look like two long-legged water birds.

Chinese Papercutting Workshop with Elena Li

Saturday, 3/26 | 2:30 PM | at WFPL | Join Elena to craft your own Chinese papercuts! Elena will walk you through her papercutting technique, and show you how to create yourself.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

No registration required. Perfect for all ages 8+.


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 2022, the Watertown Free Public Library will present its 14th One Book, One Watertown community reading program. Here are the titles we’ve presented in the past:

  • 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