Saint Paul Public Library invites residents to join the Read Brave citywide book club

Now through March 24, Read Brave 2024 will focus on the theme of “Celebrating Identities” with the book “Man o’ War” by Cory McCarthy.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) today launched Read Brave 2024, its annual citywide book club that invites teens, their families, and community members to read the same young adult book and have brave conversations about issues important to the city. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Identities,” and the book selection is “Man o’ War” by Cory McCarthy.

"This year's Read Brave theme puts our vision for a city that works for everyone into action," said Mayor Carter. "I am excited to be 'Celebrating Identities,' as we emphasize our city's commitment to inclusivity and provide a platform for meaningful dialogue around our values of diversity and understanding."

About the book

A recipient of a 2023 Stonewall Book Award Honor, “Man o’ War” follows the story of River McIntyre, an Irish Lebanese American trans teen on a journey of self-discovery amid the confines of a small Midwestern town. A high school student and competitive swimmer who works at the local aquarium, River seems to find more in common with the captive sharks and isolated man o’ wars at SeaPlanet than with their peers at school. After an unexpected run in with an old classmate, Indy—a self-assured non-binary teenager—River begins to ask questions about their own identity and dives headfirst into uncovering who they really are.

This deeply intimate and emotional young adult novel explores the layers and complexities of coming out and transitioning, grappling with dysphoria, internalized transphobia and racism, bias, and rejection, and—ultimately—acceptance, self-love, true love, and joy. Told over the span of several years, “Man o’ War” is as much an honest coming-of-age story as it is a love story that balances the heartache and pain that comes with learning to love all aspects of yourself and the joy that comes from being free to be who you truly are.

“Read Brave is meant to encourage readers to discover books that spark intergenerational dialogue and build empathy around an issue important to our Saint Paul community,” said SPPL Director Maureen Hartman. “This year’s book invites residents to dig into the complexities of who we are, how we relate each other, and what it means to create a city where all identities belong.”

Get a copy of the book

Residents can get their own copy of “Man o’ War” to keep by stopping by any SPPL location during open hours while supplies last. Print copies, e-books, and audiobooks are also available for check-out. A limited supply of book club kits to keep are also available at all library locations. Participating book clubs can sign up for a chance to host Mayor Carter at their book club discussion of “Man o’ War”.

SPPL will also drop books around town at grocery stores, barber shops, parks and other community gathering places. One of these copies will include a “golden ticket” inside, which can be redeemed for a free e-reader.

Book-based events

Expanding on the books, SPPL will host free events that are open to the public March 18-24 throughout libraries in Saint Paul. Events include “Read Brave, Talk Brave,” a panel discussion with Mayor Carter and author Cory McCarthy on March 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Arlington Hills Library; a traveling art exhibit on the theme of identities by InProgress; a community volunteer event; and a storytime with Mayor Carter. McCarthy will also visit select Saint Paul Public School classrooms. More information can be found online.

“Join us for an event, read this book in your book club, or connect with your neighbors to celebrate who we are and the beauty in likeness and difference,” Hartman said.

Read Brave Saint Paul is brought to you by the Saint Paul Public Library, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and the City of Saint Paul. This program is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, with special support from a Saint Paul Public School Community Partnership ARP Grant.


About Saint Paul Public Library

At Saint Paul Public Library, we welcome all people to connect, learn, discover, and grow. We are at 13 library locations across Saint Paul, the Bookmobile, and online at Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter