Mary Ann Key Book Club

A collaboration with columnist Myron Medcalf, the Mary Ann Key Book Club uses reading as a catalyst for conversation as we attempt to better understand past and current injustices – including systemic racism, other forms of discrimination, and bias that affects marginalized communities.

Recent event

Recorded on May 12, 2022: Columnist Myron Medcalf and moderator Ramona Kitto Stately host an online conversation with Native American community leaders Sharon Day, Marlena Myles, Dr. Katie Phillips and Pearl Walker-Swaney. Panelists discuss representation, education, and this season's book.


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Read previous issues


Events for the spring 2022 season have concluded. Next season’s title is being selected. In the meantime, view recordings of previous events on Hennepin County Library’s YouTube channel.

Current selection

Columnist Myron Medcalf introduces An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People.

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza

About the book

In this adaptation of Roxanne Dunbar-Oritz’s An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (2014), co-writers Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza reframe U.S. history from an Indigenous perspective in a way that is accessible, packed with facts and will have readers thinking critically from start to finish.

“In spite of all that was done to them, Indigenous people are still here. It is breathtaking, but no miracle, that they have survived as peoples. This is a history of the United States.” From An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a New York Times best-selling author and has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades.

Debbie Reese is an educator and founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). She is tribally enrolled at Nambé Owingeh, a federally recognized tribe, and grew up on Nambé’s reservation.

Jean Mendoza is a curriculum specialist focusing on the representation of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult literature.

Check out the reading group guides from publisher Beacon Press.

Patrons living with visual or physical limitations may be eligible to request the audiobook from the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library.

About the book club

The book club was inspired by a Star Tribune column written by Myron Medcalf – the great-great-great-grandson of Mary Ann Key.

“I’m honored to partner with Hennepin County Library to launch the Mary Ann Key Book Club, named after the matriarch of my family, who was a slave in Georgia in the 1850s. Purchased for $1,000 at the age of 14, Mary Ann Key persevered. Her body was in bondage, but slavery never stole the freedom of her heart, mind and soul. This book club is about focusing on the truths of the past, our challenges in the present and the possibilities of the future…” – Myron Medcalf

This program is supported by Friends of the Hennepin County Library. Their generous financial support is helping to provide greater access to print and eBook copies of the featured books.