The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: One Book, One Chicago 2014-15

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon was the 25th selection for One Book, One Chicago. The season’s program explored the book's central theme: Heroes: Real & Imagined. From October 2014 through May 2015 we explored heroism from multiple perspectives, as recounted through personal experience, imagined in literature, presented in politics, or synthesized in music and art.

In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay reimagine and redefine the comic book hero and in the process force us to grapple with questions about heroism: what does a hero look like, why do we need heroes, what makes one a hero—these are only some of the questions with which we struggle alongside Joe and Sammy as they create The Escapist, their greatest comic book superhero.


The 2014-15 One Book, One Chicago season launched with an appearance from author Michael Chabon at Harold Washington Library Center, and continued with programs at the library and partner locations exploring topics including:

  • Chicago’s unsung cultural heroes with Tim Samuelson and Rick Kogan at Project Onward Studio and Gallery
  • Heroism in Politics panel moderated by Walter Jacobson
  • Courage in Conflict: Heroes of War with partner Pritzker Military Museum and Library
  • Heroes of Jazz for the Holidays concert with Jeremy Kahn Trio and Frieda Lee
  • Dame Myra Hess musical hero lecture and performance by pianist Yoonjung Han with the International Music Foundation
  • Chicago’s Heroic Architecture with Terry Tatum
  • Personal Heroism in Families with hip hop poet J. Ivy
  • Acting the Anti-Hero panel with Mark Bazer, Christopher Borelli, Sarah Knight Adamson and Terry Gant at Revolution Brewery
  • 50 Children film screening of the story of Holocaust heroes Mr. and Mrs. Kraus
  • Inside the World of Charmingly Clueless Hero Captain Underpants with author Dav Pilkey
  • Unlikely Heroes of the Animal Kingdom with Jennifer Holland
  • Dead Man Walking: The Conversation Continues with Sr. Helen Prejean
  • Maker Lab activities to create superhero masks, rings and costumes
  • Heroes of Our Imagination children’s writing workshops with partners 826CHI
  • Create-A-Comic Hero and Cosplay Workshop for teens at YOUmedia
  • FLOW The Hero Edition open mic for teens at YOUmedia
  • New York Times columnist Charles Blow speaking on Mechanisms and Mythologies Conspiring against the Marginalized in commemoration of Chicago hero, the late Mayor Harold Washington, with the Chicago Urban League

OBOC Online

In addition to events, the season featured the introduction of several innovative digital programs including:

  • One Book, One Chicago Online Reading Experience, a serialized book release allowing patrons to read the same book at the same time by logging in to the CPL website with their library card and reading from anywhere they had an internet connection
  • Interactive missions allowing patrons to complete tasks and share their creations with others
  • Reading sprints hosted on the @1book1chicago Twitter account, dedicated hour-long sessions where participants set aside time to read and discuss the book
  • “Chicago Heroes: Real & Imagined” guest blog series featuring a series of original essays by Chicago writers on their Chicago heroes

Further Reading


The 2014-15 One Book, One Chicago was presented by the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation and sponsors Allstate and BMO Harris. Partners included DePaul University, WBEZ 91.5 and Park Hyatt Chicago. Programming partners included Project Onward Studio & Gallery, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, The International Music Foundation, 826CHI, Landmarks IllinoisRevolution Brewery and The Chicago Urban League.

Content last updated: April 30, 2015

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