Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) launches Read Brave 2022, a citywide, intergenerational reading initiative aimed at sparking conversation and new ideas that will move Saint Paul forward. This year’s topic of Read Brave is community care. Read Brave book selections—two by local authors—and book-based events for all-ages will focus on how we care for each other and our connected, collective well-being.
"Engaging our community in conversations that impact our lives and chart the future of our city is crucial," said Mayor Carter. "Join us as we Read Brave in 2022 and focus on caring for one another and our collective community.”
The Read Brave book series includes reads for all ages, interests, and reading levels. This year, two of the five books in the Read Brave collection, including the main book, are written by local, BIPOC, and/or immigrant and refugee authors:
- Main Book, Young Adult Fiction: The Magic Fish by Minneapolis-based author Trung Le Nguyen.
- Adult Nonfiction: What We Hunger For edited by 신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin and published by Minnesota Historical Society Press with contributions from Valérie Déus, V. V. Ganeshananthan, Roy G. Guzmán, Lina Jamoul, Simi Kang, May Lee-Yang, Ifrah Mansour, Ánh-Hoa Thị Nguyễn, Zarlasht Niaz, Junauda Petrus-Nasah, Kou B. Thao, Michael Torres, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay, and Senah Yeboah-Sampong
- Chapter Book: Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing
- Early Reader: Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian
- Picture Book: Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
"Read Brave’s mission is to build awareness and empathy around an issue important to Saint Paul," said SPPL Director Catherine Penkert. "We are thrilled to have local authors join us this year as we focus Read Brave on the complex topic of practicing community care."
The selection of "The Magic Fish" marks the first time a graphic novel is the main book title for Read Brave. Its author, Nguyen, is a Vietnamese-American comic book artist and storyteller from Minnesota. In his words, he was born in a refugee camp somewhere in the Philippine province of Palawan. In his debut award-winning graphic novel, Nguyen tells the story of Tiến, a young boy navigating through fairytales while trying to communicate with parents, find the right words for what he’s going through, and ultimately find his happy ending. "The Magic Fish" tackles tough topics in a way that’s accessible to all and illustrates to us how we are all connected.
SPPL distributed more than 3,000 copies of the Read Brave titles to classrooms and community groups throughout Saint Paul. The books are also available for check-out at SPPL, including audiobooks and unlimited e-book copies. Books are available for purchase at select local bookstores.
Building upon the books, during February and March, the Library will host events for the public throughout libraries in Saint Paul, including conversations with Nguyen and contributors from "What We Hunger For;" all-ages volunteer events; and an art installation at select library locations. Nguyen will also visit select Saint Paul school classrooms.
In addition to conversations about the topic and books happening at libraries across the city, SPPL invites community partners — from local businesses and nonprofit organizations to schools, book clubs, and residents — to plan their own Read Brave events around the book selections and the theme of community care. A downloadable toolkit that includes a how-to for reading a graphic novel, book discussion guides, a guide for having brave conversations, and additional resources is available at readbrave.org.
“Start a book club, join us for an event, or connect with your neighbors to talk about how we can collectively care for each other in community,” said Penkert.
Read Brave Saint Paul is brought to you by the Saint Paul Public Library and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. This program is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, with special support from the Saint Paul Saints and Bernadette and Jeffrey Janisch.
For more information on Read Brave Saint Paul visit readbrave.org.