Read Brave

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Teens! Help us choose the next Read Brave book!

Please nominate a young adult book by using this form. What makes a book Read Brave-worthy?

It should:

  • Be a ‘really good’ book, a page-turner that will be compelling and promotes the joy of reading
  • Foster community discussion, and help folks understand teen culture
  • Be a book that youth can recognize themselves or their peers in the book. 
  • Represent our community: Racially, socioeconomically, gender, diff-abled, LGBTQ+ communities are recognized/appreciated...
  • Currently in print. Paperback (by October) is preferred.
  • Perhaps have heavy issues, but should also contain humor and hope.

Read Brave 2018: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Saint Paul Public Library has selected Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz as the 2018 Read Brave book. Starting in December, more than one-thousand teens throughout Saint Paul will receive personal copies of Aristotle and Dante to read and discuss ahead of the author’s visit to Saint Paul February 28-March 1, 2018.

Aristotle and Dante, first published in 2012 to critical acclaim, was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. Sáenz’s beloved coming-of-age novel addresses issues of racial and ethnic identity, sexuality, and family relationships. 

Novelist, poet, and writer of children's books, Sáenz was named one of the "Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World" by Poets & Writers magazine. Born in 1954 in Old Picacho, a small farming village outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, he was the fourth of seven children and was brought up in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. Sáenz lives in El Paso, Texas and is retired from teaching creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso. 

Writing Workshops (open to the public!)

Benjamin Alire Sáenz will participate in two writing workshops for the public during his time in Saint Paul!

  • Wednesday, February 28, 5-6:30 p.m. Arlington Hills Community Center (Community Room A) 
  • Thursday, March 1, 5-6:30 p.m. Rondo Library

    Read Brave in the News!

    'Read Brave,' indeed: Author writes deep about two boys' ethnicity, families, sexuality (February 25, 2018)

    For everyone who loves Ben Saenz’s award-winning novel “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe,” the author says the much-anticipated sequel is finished, scheduled to be published in 2018.

    “The title is not ‘There Will Be Other Summers,’ but I won’t tell you what it will be,” Saenz teases, referring to the working title ricocheting around social media. (Keep reading for a few more sequel hints.)

    Read More >

    2018 Read Brave Partner Map

    Outreach Materials for Partners

    Letter Flyer

    Thank You

    Read Brave is made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, a generous donation to The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library in honor of Richard and Kathleen Hauke, and Mary Lou and Hank DuGarm, and a generous donation of 1,000 copies of Aristotle and Dante by publisher Simon & Schuster.

    About Read Brave

    When we read together—when a grandfather reads to a granddaughter, when a teacher reads to a classroom, when a parent reads to a child, when a sister reads to a brother, when everyone in a town reads the same book silently, together—we are taken out of our aloneness. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another. We connect. And when we connect, we are changed. — Kate DiCamillo

    Read Brave is Saint Paul Public Library’s annual, citywide program encouraging youth and adults to read and come together around a young adult novel. The program encourages intergenerational dialog about thought-provoking, contemporary issues facing teens and culminates with a visit by the author.

    Each year, hundreds of copies of the Read Brave book are distributed to the community, primarily to teens in the Saint Paul Public School system. When teens own the book, they take ownership of the reading, get the thrill of a personalized autograph, and are able to share the book with friends and family.

    YouMedia Radio interview
    Listen to an interview with Marika Staloch, Youth Services Coordinator at SPPL, about what goes into organizing Read Brave, and how we work with teens and community partners to make it a transformative opportunity for the community. (25 minutes)

    Previous Read Brave books:

    Read Brave has fostered partnerships and programs with Avalon School, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul Public Schools, adult and teen book clubs, Shakopee Women’s Prison, local booksellers, and Lady Gaga's Born Brave Bus tour. Avalon School received both state and national Promising Practices awards for their participation in the Saint Paul Public Library's Read Brave initiative.


    Read Brave is on GoodReads

    Read Brave is on Good Reads!
    Read Brave 36 members
    Saint Paul, MN wants as many people to read a YA novel together and start a discussion. This year's novel: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

    Books we've read

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
    How It Went Down
    Everybody Sees the Ants
    Eleanor & Park

    View this group on Goodreads »