The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, announces the launch of One Book | One Minnesota, a new statewide book club that will invite Minnesotans of all ages to read a common title and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect, and discuss. Presented in partnership with State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education, the program aims to bring Minnesotans together during a challenging time and highlight the role of libraries as community connectors. The inaugural title for the program is Because of Winn-Dixie by Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press).

“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,” says Jen Nelson, Director of State Library Services. “Our goal is to bring Minnesotans closer together during this time of distance and adversity.”

During the months of April and May, through their local libraries, Minnesotans will be invited to read the featured book selection and will have access to author videos, reading guides, and virtual book club discussions. All Minnesotans will be invited to participate in a statewide virtual discussion with the author in May.

The first One Book choice, Because of Winn-Dixie, is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary of publication. Program coordinators selected the book for its broad appeal. It is geared for youth and is commonly part of fourth grade curriculum in schools around the state, but it’s accessible across age groups.

Kate DiCamillo expressed her excitement in her recent introduction video. “I’m so thrilled that my book, Because of Winn-Dixie, is the very first book for One Book | One Minnesota. Stories connect us, and I’m so happy to be connected with all of you through story.”

Because of Winn-Dixie will be available on multiple platforms. Readers can access the digital book for free on Ebooks Minnesota for eight weeks. Hard copies of the book will be available through Red Balloon Bookshop and other independent stores across the state, as well as public libraries as social distancing allows. Links to resources and more information can be found at thefriends.org/onebook.

Ebooks Minnesota is an online ebook collection for all Minnesotans. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state’s independent publishers, including some of our best literature and nonfiction. Ebooks Minnesota is a joint project of Minitex and the Minnesota Department of Education, State Library Services. The collection was made possible in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Education through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.