"The Song Poet," a memoir by St. Paul writer Kao Kalia Yang, is the latest book featured in the One Book / One Minnesota statewide book club.
The book, published in 2016, is the story of Yang's father, Bee Yang, a song poet in his native Laos who was forced to relocate his family during the Vietnam War. Kao Kalia Yang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and the family later moved to Minnesota. "The Song Poet" was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle award, won a Minnesota Book Award and was adapted as youth opera by the Minnesota Opera.
The One Book / One Minnesota club began in April 2020 as a way to unite the state during the pandemic lockdown. Through Dec. 19, Minnesotans will have access to author videos, reading guides, and virtual book club discussions on the website of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. They can download the e-book and audiobook of "The Song Poet" for free at Ebooks Minnesota. The book is also available at public libraries or can be purchased at local independent bookstores.
All Minnesotans also are invited to participate in a statewide Zoom discussion with Yang at 7 p.m. Dec. 9. The discussion is free and open to the public but participants are asked to register.
Previous books discussed in the series are "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo; "A Good Time for the Truth," edited by Sun Yung Shin; "A Plague of Doves" by Louise Erdrich; "Slider" by Pete Hautman and "Murder on the Red River," by Marcie Rendon.
Laurie Hertzel • @StribBooks