One Book, One Kirkwood

One Book, One Kirkwood is a yearly community read for the people throughout our St. Louis community. All events are free and open to the public.

Lisa See

Lisa See is a Chinese-American author who has written historical fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction. We’ll be taking a closer look at her books The Island of Sea Women, China Dolls, and On Gold Mountain to explore and discuss themes including Asian culture, immigration, and racism. Lisa See is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 10 books that have been translated into 39 languages!

Find Lisa See’s Books in our Catalog

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 7pm at

St. Louis Community College-Meramec

Doors open at 6:15pm

This event will be an onstage interview. Lisa See will be signing books after the event. Books for signing will be available for purchase from Left Bank Books at the event.

Meramec Theatre
11333 Big Bend Rd, St. Louis, MO 63122
Parking can be found in lots G,H, and I (access from Rose Hill and Couch Avenues)

Click the image for a map of parking lots and Theatre location.

The Island of Sea Women

Set largely on the remote Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Young-sook and Mi-ja, girls from strikingly different backgrounds who bond over their shared love of the sea. Working in their village’s all-female diving collective, the two friends come of age in a community where gender roles are anything but typical. Here, women are the primary breadwinners, the heads of household in all but name, and yet, as Mi-ja and Young-sook come to realize, there are limits to their control that can prove devastating.

Over the years, Young-sook and Mi-ja endure together the loss of parents, the dramas of marriage and childbirth, cruel family members, disruptive technological advances, and the ever-present dangers that accompany their livelihood. They also face growing unrest from the political turmoil that surrounds their homeland: Japanese occupation gives way to World War II, the Korean War, and its aftermath, leaving the residents of Jeju caught between warring empires. As their husbands’ political ties and tumultuous world events threaten their friendship, Young-sook and Mi-ja see their remote island and everything they have known upended.

Find a Copy in our Catalog

China Dolls

China Dolls begins in 1938 in San Francisco: Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Find a Copy in our Catalog

On Gold Mountain

When she was a girl, Lisa See spent summers in the cool, dark recesses of her family’s antiques store in Los Angeles Chinatown. There, her grandmother and great-aunt told her intriguing, colorful stories about their family’s past- stories of missionaries, concubines, tong wars, glamorous nightclubs, and the determined struggle to triumph over racist laws and discrimination. They spoke of how Lisa’s great-great-grandfather emigrated from his Chinese village to the United States to work on the building of the transcontinental railroad as an herbalist; how his son followed him, married a Caucasian woman, and despite great odds, went on to become one of the most prominent Chinese on “Gold Mountain” (the Chinese name for the United States).

On Gold Mountain is a vivid, sweeping family portrait, telling the story not only of one family, but of the Chinese people in America itself, a country that both welcomes and reviles immigrants like no other culture in the world.

Find a Copy in our Catalog

Past Years’ Selections

2019 – Chris Bohjalian The Flight Attendant, The Sandcastle Girls, and Buffalo Soldier

2018- Stephanie Powell Watts No One Is Coming to Save Us

2017- Ariel Lawhon Flight of Dreams

2016- Laura McHugh Arrowood and Curtis Sittenfeld Eligible

2015- Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore *Skype visit

2014- Alex George A Good American

2013- Joseph Schuster The Might Have Been

2012- Timothy Schaffert The Coffins of Little Hope

Related Programming

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CrAfter Work: Painted Flowers
Feb 26 @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Plum blossom flowers are a symbol of perseverance, hope, beauty, and purity in Chinese culture. Create your own watercolor painting of these beautiful flowers! All supplies are provided. This is an adult crafting program. Registration required.[...]
2:00 PM Film Screening: A Bitter Legacy
Film Screening: A Bitter Legacy
Feb 29 @ 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
This feature documentary investigates the “Citizen Isolation Centers” – harsh and secret World War II prisons created within the Japanese American incarceration camp system to separate citizens deemed by the American Government as“trouble-makers”. Interviews of professors,[...]
7:00 PM Community Conversations: Immigra...
Community Conversations: Immigra...
Mar 10 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Join Andrew Fitzgerald of Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates (MIRA) for his presentation on Immigration 101. He will be speaking on the importance of immigration to our community and dispelling myths followed by a question[...]

Event Partners

St. Louis Community College

Established in 1962, St. Louis Community College is the largest community college district in Missouri and one of the largest in the United States. STLCC has four campuses: Florissant Valley, Forest Park, Meramec and Wildwood. The College annually serves more than 50,000 students through credit courses, continuing education, and workforce development programs. For more information about STLCC, visit

Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group

Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group: In the quest to transform the Kirkwood area into a prejudice-free community of highly respectful individuals, CFUH initiates ongoing dialogue and social interaction to create an environment of understanding and healing.  Monthly meetings held on 3rd Thursday at 7pm at Kirkwood Public Library.


The West County Community Action Network (WE CAN) works to impact the education, policing, and voting systems in pursuit of racial equity in our region.

Kirkwood Human Rights Commission

Advises the City Council on ways to: Promote awareness, recreation, employment, legislation, education, accessibility, and participation of and for minority groups, including persons with disabilities; remove any inequalities that pertain to minority groups and the disabled in such areas as housing, recreation, education, employment, law enforcement, services, and accessibility; encourage participation by minority groups and disabled persons in City programs.

Welcome Neighbor STL

Welcome Neighbor STL is a community group supporting immigrants and refugees as they begin a new life in St. Louis. They offer emotional and social support, primarily by partnering volunteers with new families. If you are interested in getting involved, join the Welcome Neighbor STL Facebook Group or click this link to sign up to learn more about volunteering.

Funding for the One Author series of programs is provided by the Edward Chase Garvey Memorial Foundation.