Read Brave Saint Paul 2021

Read Brave is Saint Paul Public Library’s annual citywide reading initiative to build awareness and empathy on critical topics through books and book-based experiences. Read Brave aims to inspire Saint Paul residents of all ages to feel more connected to their community and empowered to take action on important issues.

The 2021 Read Brave theme was: "Owning our Stories: Rising Together for a Better Saint Paul".


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

by Junauda Petrus-Nasah

Told in two voices, sixteen-year-old Audre and Mabel, both young women of color from different backgrounds, fall in love and figure out how to care for each other as one of them faces a fatal illness.

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Children of the Land: A Memoir

by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

With beauty, grace, and honesty, Castillo recounts his and his family encounters with a system that treats them as criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives.


Discuss the books. Dig into themes, characters, and your own personal story.

Spark conversation. Use our discussion guide in conversations with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family.

Book clubs. Suggest a Read Brave title with your book club or join a book club that is discussing the Read Brave titles.

Join the larger conversation. Share your thoughts on the story, parts of your own personal story, or Read Brave experiences on social media using the hashtag #readbrave.

Share with other library patrons. Review or add comments to the books on the Library’s online catalog.


Author Events

Conversation with Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

A conversation with author of Children of the Land, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo.

Meet the Authors

Hello from Junauda Petrus-Nasah

Junauda Petrus-Nasah is the author of the Read Brave 2021 main title, "The Stars and the Blackness Between Them".


Read Brave podcast with Youth Voices of IGF

Engaging youth with themes of intersectionality and resiliency as they relate to "The Stars and the Blackness Between Them".


Breath Breaks - the Voices of Irreducible Grace Foundation

Calm your brain from distractions, break up tension, pain, and trauma, and shift stress from the body.


Stories have power. They allow us to connect more deeply, confront difficult truths, and heal together. Let’s listen to one another, especially the voices not often listened to or lifted up.

Community Resources

Immigrant Law Center of Minneosta

A nonprofit agency that provides immigration legal assistance to low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota.

Healing Justice Foundation

National philanthropic non-profit, providing resources to address inequities and provide urgent healing support to Black people.

Radical Self-Care With Dr. Joi

Dr. Joi - mediator, coach, community healer and facilitator of liberation - is on a mission to put healing in the hands of anyone, anywhere.

Read Brave Kids empowers young readers and artists by engaging in fun reading activities that celebrate kids' choice, gaining a voice, and engaging in brave conversations with their communities.

2021 Read Brave is presented by Saint Paul Public Library in collaboration with the City of Saint Paul, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, Saint Paul Public Schools, and Irreducible Grace Foundation. Read Brave is sponsored by Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund and the Saint Paul Saints.

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