One Book One Minnesota

Are you ready

to read together?

One Book | One Minnesota is a new statewide book club that will invite Minnesotans of all ages to read and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect, and discuss. Presented by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library in partnership with State Library Services, the program aims to bring Minnesotans together during a challenging time and to highlight the role of libraries as community connectors.


The featured book for Summer 2020 is A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin (Minnesota Historical Society Press)

Ebooks Minnesota is making the book freely available through August 23 with no limits on how many people can access the book at one time.

The library is open by appointment and for curbside pickup, so you can request a copy online in our catalog or you can call to place a hold on a physical copy of the book.

For individuals who need access to copies of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota in an alternate format (audiobraille or large print), contact the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library (MBTBL). MBTBL, located in Faribault, provides direct library service to preschool age children to seniors with visual, physical and reading disabilities for whom conventional print is a barrier to reading.

For complete eligibility requirements, visit the National Library Service (NLS)'s Eligibility webpage. To apply for service, download and complete an NLS Application for Free Library Service and return to MBTBL by mail, fax or email. For more information, contact Catherine A. Durivage, Library Program Director (, 507-384-6860).

Join the conversation.

Minnesota-wide Author Discussion

All Minnesotans will be invited to participate in a statewide virtual discussion with the author in August. Details to come in July.

About the Book

In this provocative book, sixteen of Minnesota’s best writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a Native person or a person of color in Minnesota. With unflinching generosity, these authors take readers into their lives, sharing experiences that we all must understand if we are to come together in real relationships.

Minnesota communities struggle with some of the nation’s worst racial disparities. As its authors confront and consider the realities that lie beneath the numbers, this book provides an important tool to those who want to be part of closing those gaps.

As the book’s editor, Sun Yung Shin, writes in the introduction: “These essays…are intended to enlarge our understanding of, and deepen our connections to, one another. These writers are here to feed our spirits, if we let them. As readers and listeners we have an important job to do, a powerful and empowering attitude to assume: “Tell me the truth of the matter. When I don’t understand, I will not protest or judge or correct, I will simply listen harder. I am here to recognize you as my fellow human being with a story.” We can read their stories and leave each one with a deeper, more complex understanding of how race and culture are lived in Minnesota – and better prepared for the conversations and changes ahead.”

-Description provided by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

About the Contibutors

신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul, Korea, during 박 정 희 Park Chung-hee's military dictatorship, and grew up in the Chicago area. She is the editor of the best-selling anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, author of poetry collections Unbearable Splendor (finalist for the 2017 PEN USA Literary Award for Poetry, winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for poetry); Rough, and Savage; and Skirt Full of Black (winner of the 2007 Asian American Literary Award for poetry), co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and author of bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. She lives in Minneapolis where she co-directs the community organization Poetry Asylum with poet Su Hwang.

Taiyon J. Coleman’s writing has appeared in Bum Rush the PageSauti MypyaDrumvoices RevueRiding ShotgunThe Ringing EarBlues VisionHow Dare We! Write; and Places Journal. Her essay, “Sometimes I Feel like Harriet Tubman,” appears in the fall 2018 issue of Minnesota Alumni Magazine, and Taiyon has an essay forthcoming in Shadowlands: An Illustrated Reader in Racialized Violence in America, Selected Writings on the Art of Ken Gonzales-Day (Minnesota Museum of American Art). Taiyon is a 2017 recipient of a McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship in Creative Prose, and she is Assistant Professor of English Literature at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Currently, Taiyon is working on her YA novel, Chicago@Fifteen.

Heid E. Erdrich is Ojibwe, enrolled at Turtle Mountain. She is author of seven collections of poetry, and Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, and co-editor of Sister Nations: Native American Writers on Community. She edited the recent anthology New Poets of Native Nations and has a forthcoming collection of poetry, Little Big Bully (October 2020). She mentors MFA students at Augsburg College.

Venessa Fuentes is from Minneapolis. She is also from its arts, queer, and BIPOC communities. Her writing has been anthologized, read at poetry picnics, shared at the dinner table, and turned into public art. Along with her son, Venessa claims the Southside as Home.

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and author. A Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow, her young adult novels Dream Country and See No Color are both Minnesota Book Award-winners. She is co-editor of the recent anthology What God is Honored Here: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African Diasporic topics.

David Lawrence Grant has written drama for the stage, film, and television, as well as fiction and memoir. He has written major reports on racial bias in the justice system for the Minnesota Supreme Court and on racial disparities in the health care system for the Minnesota legislature. He teaches screenwriting at FilmNorth.

Carolyn Holbrook is a writer, educator, and longtime advocate for the healing power of the arts. She is founder and director of More Than a Single Story, and Executive Editor of the Saint Paul Almanac. She is the author of a new essay collection, Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify and is co-author with Arleta Little of MN civil rights icon, Dr. Josie R. Johnson’s memoir, Hope In the Struggle. Her personal essays have been published in A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She received the Kay Sexton Award from the Minnesota Book Awards, and two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants, and a 50 over 50 award from AARP & Pollen/Midwest. She teaches creative writing at Hamline University and other community venues.

IBé lives in the Middle of the Atlantic, between Guinea, Sierra Leone and the US. From here he writes poetry, essays and short stories about aliens and the sea. He is the recipient of numerous recognitions, such as Verve Grant and Midwestern Voices Award, but considers fatherhood his most valuable work. During the day, he works as an IT Project Manager, and spends his in-between time looking for the perfect fries.

Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Since January 2018, she has served as Vice President of the Minneapolis City Council. A Bush Fellow and a locally and nationally recognized poet, she has earned many awards, fellowships, and commissions. She is an oral historian at the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota Archives.

Robert Farid Karimi is an award-winning interdisciplinary playwright, experience designer, and poet whose interactive performances feed audiences a mixed bowl of humor, pop culture, and personal history. A National Poetry Slam Champion, he has appeared in a variety of eclectic venues worldwide. His work has been published and recorded internationally.

JaeRan Kim is assistant professor at University of Washington Tacoma. JaeRan’s writing and scholarship focuses on the intersections of race, disability, gender, and kinship of vulnerable children and families.

Sherry Quan Lee, MFA, University of Minnesota, is the author of Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse; Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir (a Minnesota Book Award Finalist); and the picture book And You Can Love Me: a story for everyone who loves someone with ASD, published 2019 by LHP, Ann Arbor, MI. She is the editor of How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse, an anthology finding home in university writing classrooms. Her forthcoming work, in Spring 2021, is Septuagenarian: love is what happens when I die.

David Mura's latest book is A Stranger's Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing, which centers racial identity as a key component  of creative writing. He has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese, a Josephine Miles Book Award/Oakland PEN winner and a New York Times Notable Book, and Where the Body Meets Memory. Additional works: the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire and four books of poetry, including The Last Incantations. Mura is the Minnesota Book Awards 2019 Kay Sexton Award recipient.

Bao Phi was born in Saigon and raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. He is the author of two collections of poetry and the award-winning children’s book A Different Pond and the recently released My Footprints. He has been a performance poet and has struggled to contribute to social justice movements since he was a teenager. He is grateful to the many artists and community organizers who have influenced him.

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria is a writer and spoken word poet of Peruvian heritage involved with Palabristas, a Minnesota-based Latin@ poets collective. He is an MFA student at Hamline University and writes about fatherhood, the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish, and Spanish, and issues pertaining to his community.

Diane Wilson (Dakota) has published a memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, the 2012 One Minneapolis One Read selection, and a nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life. Her new novel, The Seed Keeper, will be published by Milkweed Editions in Spring, 2021. She is the executive director for Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition.

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer and the award-winning author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir and The Song Poet. She is co-editor of What God is Honored Here: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color and author of the children’s books A Map Into the World and the newly released The Shared Room.

-Information provided by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Links to additional resources and more information can be found at

One Book | One Minnesota is presented by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, in partnership with State Library Services. Program partners also include Candlewick Press, Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators, Minitex (a joint program of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education), and the Minnesota Department of Education. This program is made possible in part by the State of Minnesota through a grant to the Minnesota Center for the Book through the Minnesota Department of Education.