Read Brave 2019

Read Brave Saint Paul is a citywide, intergenerational reading program set around a common theme relevant to the city. The 2019 theme was housing insecurity.

2019 Highlights

Read Brave Saint Paul is a citywide, intergenerational reading program set around a common theme relevant to the city. The 2019 Read Brave theme was housing, a critical topic in Saint Paul where thousands of people struggle to afford housing. The program featured six book selections spanning all ages and reading levels, from children’s picture books to Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction. It forged partnerships with educators at 40 local schools and with more than 20 community organizations and gave away 6,000 books to students and community partners. Library staff members coordinated nearly 30 complementary events for all ages — from pre-school to older adults. The program culminated with a visit by Newbury Award-winner Meg Medina, author of Burn Baby Burn, the 2019 Read Brave Saint Paul young adult novel.

Photo Highlights

2019 Books

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Books & Partners

Read Brave print titles had almost twice the checkout rates compared to other books purchased in the past year.

5,500 copies of Burn Baby Burn and Evicted
were distributed to students and community members.

620 copies of Read Brave children’s books —Shelter, Rich, Crenshaw, and Yard Sale — were distributed to community partners.

Read Brave engaged 40 school partners and 20 community partners in reading and discussing the books.

Program Participation

675 students participated in author events with Meg Medina at local schools, including Johnson High and Saint Paul College.

200 community members attended a special storytime with Mayor Carter and librarian Rose Oyamot at Highland Park Library.

80 community volunteers created hygiene kits at two Care Brave events at Dayton’s Bluff and Highland Park libraries.

40 community members attended the Rethinking Eviction: Options for Landlords seminar at Sun Ray Library.

Other Engagement

42,695 views of “When Saint Paul Reads Brave” promotional video on social media and on the library’s website.

1,347 public interactions with the library’s Civic Lab — an on-site display with information, public polls, and a quiz about housing.

96% of teen survey participants would recommend Read Brave Saint Paul to a friend.

More than 50 local book clubs signed up with The Friends to win a Read Brave book club meeting hosted by Mayor Carter.


“I love everything that is going on with Read Brave. I’ve been able to have some really honest conversations with my students about what home means to them. Just got a bunch of our fourth graders to check out all of my ‘RICH’ books by Nikki Grimes.”

“Keep choosing topics that enlighten and have meaning for local communities and highlight social and racial issues.”

“It was refreshing to have young people join the conversation.”

“I love the opportunity to provide my students with meaningful, engaging books, and I was excited this year about the diversity of events around the topic!”

Read Brave is presented by the Saint Paul Public Library, City of Saint Paul, and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Read Brave Saint Paul is generously sponsored by Bremer Bank. Read Brave is supported by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the Katherine B. Andersen Fund, the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation, and the Saint Paul Saints.

Explore Read Brave 2019

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Seeking Home MN: Valerie's Story

Listen to Seeking Home MN, recorded at SPPL. This episode features Valerie, a woman who is currently experiencing homelessness.

Book Talk: Mayor Carter & Meg Medina

Watch Mayor Melvin Carter chat with Meg Medina at George Latimer Central Library about her book, Read Brave, and more.

Live Blog: Read Brave Saint Paul

Read Brave week has arrived! Newbery Medal-winning author Meg Medina touched down in Saint Paul Monday evening ahead of a very busy week.

St. Paul Citywide Read Brave Takes on Tough Topics

How can a community have brave, challenging conversations? That was the question Mayor Melvin Carter posed to the library.

Typing Home: Createch teens reflect on the meaning of home

Using vintage typewriters, Createch teens reflect on the meaning of home as part of the library's Read Brave Saint Paul program.

Read Brave Saint Paul Event Lineup for February 2019

Saint Paul Public Library will present a wide array of free events in February highlighting the library's new Read Brave Saint Paul…

Read Brave February Calendar (Download)

Download the February 2019 Read Brave Saint Paul calendar.

Meg Medina wins Newbery Medal

Meg Medina, the 2019 Read Brave Saint Paul author of Burn Baby Burn, was awarded the prestigious John Newbery Medal.

Read Brave Storytime with Mayor Carter

Read Brave Storytime with Mayor Melvin Carter at Highland Park Library on Saturday, January 26, 2019. Mayor Carter read "Shelter."

Brave Art: Youth Art Gallery

In late December 2018, Brave Art brought together youth of all ages to express what home means to them with the use of paint and canvas.

Read Brave Documentary & Narrative Films

These documentaries, narrative films, and streaming videos address the 2018-19 READ BRAVE themes of affordable housing and housing scarcity.

St. Paul Launches City Reading Program

"Through focused conversations, Read Brave helps us better understand [housing] challenges, so we can address those challenges together."

Housing: Where do we live and how did we get here?

Learn about these timely housing issues varying from homelessness to aging at home.

Housing Resources Guide

From rental resources to a list of available shelters, this guide includes useful housing resources.

When Saint Paul Reads Brave

Watch the short film, "When Saint Paul Reads Brave." When we all read the same books, we have a common experiences through which to engage.

Burn Baby Burn Reading Guide (Download)

Download Saint Paul Public Library's reading guide for Burn Baby Burn, including discussion questions and a conversation with Meg Medina.
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