One Book | One MN: "The Song Poet"

One Book | One Minnesota announces its sixth title

One Book | One Minnesota, the statewide book club, announces its sixth title, “The Song Poet” by Kao Kalia Yang. This title is featured from October 25 through December 19, 2021. This gives the state of Minnesota to read a common title and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect, and discuss. Invite family and friends to read and listen together. Then join Minnesota in our virtual author discussion on Thursday, December 9, to talk about the book together. 

About The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father 

In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses. He keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes. In The Song Poet, Kao Kalia Yang retells the life of her father, Bee Yang, the song poet―a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. The songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a St. Paul housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee’s mother, they leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has burnished a life of poverty for his children, polishing their grim reality so that they might shine. 

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She is the author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family MemoirThe Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang is also the author of the children’s books A Map Into the WorldThe Shared RoomThe Most Beautiful Thing, and Yang Warriors. She co-edited the ground-breaking collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color. Yang’s work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, as Notable Books by the American Library Association, Kirkus Best Books of the Year, the Heartland Bookseller’s Award, and garnered four Minnesota Book Awards. Kao Kalia Yang lives in Minnesota with her family and teaches and speaks across the nation. 

Sixth chapter book resources:

One Book Sixth Chapter Author Discussion event:
Featuring Kao Kalia Yang
Thursday, December 9 | 7:00 p.m.
Free | Register

One Book | One Minnesota is a statewide book club that invites Minnesotans of all ages to read a common title and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect and discuss. Libraries are essential for connection, and through One Book | One Minnesota, libraries across the state – in partnership with local schools – will connect their communities through stories. The program aims to bring Minnesotans closer together during this time of distance and adversity. Featured book selections have included Because of Winn-Dixie (Candlewick Press) by Kate DiCamillo, A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota edited by Sun Yung Shin (Minnesota Historical Society Press), The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich, Slider by Pete Hautman, and Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon.

Partner Details

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 and sponsored by Spire Credit Union. Program partners include Blackstone Audio; Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators; Mackin VIA; Minitex; the Minnesota Department of Education; and publishers for the selected titles. This program is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, as well as through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  

The Song Poet