By Friends of St. Paul Public Library
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Statewide book club brings readers to reflect on race in MN


Essays collected in "A Good Time For The Truth" faces issues of racial disparities in Minnesota, bringing readers a chance to educate themselves and discovers ways to act on their convictions.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, announces the next chapter in the new statewide book club, One Book One Minnesota.

Presented in partnership with State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education, the program asks Minnesotans to read a common title and come together to reflect and discuss. The summer title for the program is "A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota," edited by Sun Yung Shin. Readers will have free, unlimited access to the e-book until Aug. 23.

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.

Friends President Beth Burns, explains why this book was chosen as the next featured selection in this statewide program.

When we started this program two months ago with "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo, it was in response to the isolation and resource gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our desire was to bring Minnesotans together to share in the collective joy of reading and come together as a virtual community.

Since the death of George Floyd, the world erupted in grief with protests led by black community members and activists and perhaps finally a reckoning that we must confront institutional and systemic racism – and that means all of us. Reading this book in community offers some Minnesotans the opportunity to see their experiences broadly shared and others a chance to educate themselves-and to discover ways to act on their convictions.

We are fortunate that Minnesota is home to many talented writers whose work can inform and guide us on this journey.

Minnesota communities struggle with some of the nation's worst racial disparities. As the authors of "A Good Time for the Truth" 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.

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. 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."

"A Good Time for the Truth," published in 2016 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, is a series of essays in which 16 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, understanding of how race and culture are lived in Minnesota – and better prepared for the conversations and changes ahead."

During the summer months, through their local libraries, Minnesotans will be invited to read the featured book selection and will have access to reading guides, conversation facilitators and virtual book club discussions. All Minnesotans will be invited to participate in a statewide virtual discussion with the editor, Sun Yung Shin, in August.

"A Good Time for the Truth" is available on multiple platforms. Readers can access the digital book for free on Ebooks Minnesota for 10 weeks, until Aug. 23. Hard copies of the book will be available through the Minnesota Historical Society Press and independent bookstores across the state, as well as public libraries as social distancing allows.

The public will be encouraged to visit their local library's website for information on the book and virtual discussions. Links to resources for libraries and schools can be found at


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