One Book Read City launches at Inskip, Sterchi

Mary Pom ClaiborneFountain City, North Knoxville, Our Town Youth

It’s definitely the biggest book club in Knoxville. And probably in the state of Tennessee. About 24,000 kids are going to read one book together this month.

On Monday, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knox County school board member Betsy Henderson announced the One Book Read City title at Inskip and Sterchi elementary schools. Students and staff in all 53 Knox County elementary schools will begin reading “The Chocolate Touch“ by Patrick Skene Catling this month. The story, written in 1957, is a chocolaty twist on the legend of King Midas.

The community is invited to join in by reading along. Multiple copies of the book are available at all Knox County Public Library locations.

Through his Read City initiative, Mayor Jacobs has teamed up with Henderson, Knox Education Foundation, Knox County Public Library, PTA/PTOs, Friends of the Library and others to bring this common experience of one book to the students of Knox County. They are providing every participating student with their own copy of the book to keep. Each school will tailor activities throughout the month inspired by themes of the book.

Celebrity readers including Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, radio host and author Hallerin Hilton Hill, Ice Bears’ mascot Chilly, WATE’s Tearsa Smith, Big Al the Turtle from Zoo Knoxville, and others have been filmed reading a chapter of the book to be shown in the schools. More than 100 businesses and organizations are participating in the One Book Read City Scavenger Hunt. More information on the Scavenger Hunt can be found on

“The experience of reading a book together has so many great advantages. You can dig deeper into the story​. Just having a common thing to talk about is a way to bring kids together,” said Jacobs. “I’m excited to work with the whole community to put a bigger focus on reading.”

“We have been working on this project for about a year, and we are all so excited about it becoming a reality,” said Henderson. “Our goal is to encourage dialogue, foster the engagement of reading at home while building a strong community identity. Along with the book, there is a county-wide scavenger hunt, and we have so many businesses that have stepped-up with over 100 locations. Literacy is a passion of mine, and I can’t wait for everyone to start reading together during this month.”

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library. She writes a Wednesday feature for

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