MALF is pleased to announce that our popular Friends of the Library “mini-conference” is returning for 2024. Mark your calendars Saturday, October 5 for MALF’s fifth annual SATURDAY SPLASH.

Why do we call this event Saturday Splash (aside from the obvious fact that it’s always held on a Saturday)? It’s because our half-day itinerary will include a splash of this, and a splash of that! As the connecting thread, every program module will celebrate Friends' work or offer value learning opportunities to further that work.

Click here to be among the first to register and to receive automatic updates about this online-only “e-vent.” You can also follow our blog and e-newsletter, where further agenda details will drop throughout the summer.

With that said, one crucial detail is simply too exciting to hold in reserve. MALF is excited to reveal that our 2024 keynote address will be delivered by none other than Minnesota’s own Kao Kalia Yang.

About Our Keynote Guest

Kao Kalia Yang is more than an exceptional storyteller. She is a life-long advocate for the profound power of storytelling to educate and engender empathy.

Born in a Thai refugee camp to Hmong parents displaced from their native Laos, Yang learned much about her people and heritage through stories told by her father. A gifted kwv txhiaj song poet, “his poetry shield[ed] us from the poverty of our lives,” Yang wrote in her 2017 memoir The Song Poet. “I grew up hearing my father digging into words for images that stretched the limits of life for my siblings and me.”

Her family’s story – and the stories they told to one another – loom large in the four-time Minnesota Book Award winner’s growing literary canon. Her books to date include The Latehomecomer, the first memoir written by a Hmong American to be published with national distribution. Follow-ups include the hauntingly lyrical The Song Poet and Somewhere in the Unknown World, both of which spotlight the strength and courage behind Minnesota refugee stories.

Yang is also an accomplished children’s writer. Her stories for young readers – A Map Into the World, The Most Beautiful Thing, The Shared Room, Yang Warriors, and From the Tops of the Trees – center around Hmong children “who live in our world, who dream and hurt and hope in it.”

Earlier this year, Yang released her two latest stories: The Rock in My Throat, an autobiographical picture book based on the author’s own childhood experiences navigating a new culture while learning a second language, and Where Rivers Part.

Where Rivers Part is a welcome and wonderful complement to The Song Poet. Centering the “astonishing saga” of her indominable mother Tswb, Yang’s latest book furthers the author’s overarching mission: to “give voice to the countless resilient refugees” whose stories remain untold and contributions to modern America go undervalued.

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