‘One Minneapolis, One Read’: Read the book, join the conversation

This fall and winter, the Hennepin County Library, in collaboration with the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Public Schools, will present a series of free programs for “One Minneapolis, One Read“.

“One Minneapolis, One Read” is Minneapolis’ first-ever community reading program in which everyone in town is invited to read the same book. Think of it as a localized book club expanded to encompass an entire city.

One Minneapolis, One Read

Like similar “One City, One Book” community reading initiatives that take place across the country each year, “One Minneapolis, One Read” aims to build community and support literacy through public conversations and programs centered on a particular book and its themes.

The program’s inaugural book selection is “The Grace of Silence,” by Minneapolis native and National Public Radio host Michele Norris, a powerful autobiography about growing up as part of the first black family on her block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood.

Norris, who attended Washburn High School and the University of Minnesota, wrote the evocative memoir during a personal journey into American race relations as experienced by her family.

The idea for “One Minneapolis, One Read” emerged following a controversial and racially-polarizing debate over a Minneapolis dog park.

"The Grace of Silence" by Michele Norris

Instead of turning away from difficult discussion, the south Minneapolis neighborhoods — led by a group of residents called Building Bridges — wanted to find a way to help promote better understanding and enable further discussion. 

The mission of Building Bridges is to reconnect communities divided by “race, time and 35W,” and to better understand how race and racism impact our communities.

Michele Norris’ aunt, Doris Christopher, is one of the leaders of Building Bridges.

Hennepin County Library director, Lois Langer Thompson, confirms the goal of “One Minneapolis, One Read” programming is to “promote better understanding by inviting everyone to be involved and join together as a community to share experiences. … We hope Minneapolis residents will take this opportunity to read Norris’ insightful book, talk about it with their neighbors, explore their own roots and connect with others for a stronger Minneapolis.” 

For a full listing of “One Minneapolis, One Read” community events for adults and children, visit One Minneapolis, One Read and scroll down to the “Mark Your Calendars” section.

To hear about “The Grace of Silence” from the author herself, view a video clip of Norris and MPR News host Kerri Miller in conversation at the Guthrie on Oct. 3.

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