The Nebraska Center for the Book

Related Links

One Book official website

2015 selection:
Death Zones and Darling Spies
by Beverly Deepe Keever

Once Upon a Town


Find One Book One Nebraska on Facebook

2016 selection:
The Meaning of Names
by Karen Gettert Shoemaker

The Meaning of Names


One Book One Nebraska

One Book One Nebraska logoLaunched each January, this dynamic program cultivates a culture of reading and discussion in our state by bringing our diverse state together around one great book by a Nebraska author.


The notion of one book/one city (state, county, church, etc.) was the brainchild of the now famous Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl. The idea of city-wide reading programs started in Seattle in 1998 with the program “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” initiated by the Washington Center for the Book, located at the Seattle Public Library. The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book reports that “One Book” programs have been introduced across the USA and around the world. The Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Library Association, and Humanities Nebraska (formerly Nebraska Humanities Council) spearheaded the One Book One Nebraska initiative in 2005.


Reading great literature provokes us to think about ourselves, our environment and our relationships. Talking about great literature with friends, families and neighbors often adds richness and depth to the experience of reading.

The Nebraska Center for the Book believes One Book One Nebraska demonstrates how books and reading connect people across time and place. Each year, Nebraska communities come together through literature in community-wide reading programs to explore a classic work by one of Nebraska’s best-loved authors, or a book with a Nebraska setting.

Selecting a work by a Nebraska author or set in Nebraska celebrates the state’s literary heritage.

Nominate a book

The Nebraska Center for the Book invites recommendations for One Book One Nebraska book selection. The Center for the Book will consider books written by a Nebraska author (living or dead/with current or former residence in the state), or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. Books should have a broad appeal to readers across Nebraska and lend well to group book discussion. Books may be fiction, non-fiction, biography, memoir, or poetry. They must be in print and readily available. The Center for the Book strongly suggests that anyone who nominates a text should have read it.

Nominations for 2016 One Book One Nebraska are now closed. To nominate a book for 2017 One Book One Nebraska, fill out this online form or send an e-mail giving the title of the book, the author, and your e-mail address, by June 15, 2016. Recommendations may also be sent via the U.S. Postal Service to the Nebraska Center for the Book; One Book One Nebraska; c/o Nebraska Library Commission Reference Services; 1200 N Street, Ste. 120; Lincoln, NE 68508-2023.

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Previous Selections

Death Zones and Darling Spies2015

Death Zones and Darling Spies: Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting by Beverly Deepe Keever

Keever was the longest-serving American correspondent covering the Vietnam War and earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for reporting. In Death Zones and Darling Spies, Keever describes what it was like for a farm girl from Nebraska to find herself halfway around the world, trying to make sense of one of the nation’s bloodiest and bitterest wars.

Learn more about the book.

Go to the 2015 One Book One Nebraska Website.

Once Upon a Town2014

Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene

In this nonfiction story, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Bob Greene goes out in search of "the best America there ever was," and finds it in a small Nebraska town few people pass through today—a town where Greene discovers the echoes of a love story between a country and its sons.

Learn more about the book.

Go to the 2014 One Book One Nebraska Website.

O Pioneers2013

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Willa Cather's O Pioneers! is the story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish pioneers that settles on the American prairie. While Alexandra, the family matriarch, turns the family farm into a financial success, her brother Emil struggles. A novel surprisingly ahead of its time, this work touches on a wide range of enduring themes—love, marriage, temptation, and isolation.

Learn more about the book.

Go to the 2013 One Book One Nebraska Website.

I Am a Man by Joe Starita2012

"I Am a Man": Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice by Joe Starita

In 1877, Chief Standing Bear's Ponca Indian tribe was forcibly removed from their Nebraska homeland and marched to what was then known as Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), in what became the tribe's own Trail of Tears. "I Am a Man" chronicles what happened when Standing Bear set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to return the body of his only son to their traditional burial ground. Joe Starita's well-researched and insightful account reads like historical fiction as his careful characterizations and vivid descriptions bring this piece of American history brilliantly to life. — St. Martin's Press

Learn more about the book.

Go to the 2012 One Book One Nebraska Website.

Local Wonders by Ted Kooser2011

Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps by Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in the rolling hills of southeastern Nebraska—an area known as the Bohemian Alps. Nothing is too big or too small for his attention. Memories of his grandmother’s cooking are juxtaposed with reflections about the old-fashioned outhouse on his property. When casting his eye on social progress, Kooser reminds us that the closing of local schools, thoughtless county weed control, and irresponsible housing development destroy more than just the view. — University of Nebraska Press Book Jacket

Learn more about the book.

Go to the 2011 One Book One Nebraska Website.

The Home Place book cover2010

The Home Place by Wright Morris

Wright Morris is regarded as one of America’s most gifted novelists and photographers. Internationally recognized, he received the National Book and the American Book awards. The Home Place is an account in first-person narrative and photographs of the one-day visit by Clyde Muncy to “the home place” at Lone Tree, Nebraska. This “photo-text” has been called “as near to a new fiction form as you could get.” — University of Nebraska Press Book Jacket

Learn more about the book and the selection process, and access resources.

Go to the 2010 One Book One Nebraska Website.

A Lantern in Her Hand book cover2009

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

First published in 1928, A Lantern in Her Hand has outlasted literary fashions to touch generations of readers. In this classic story of a pioneer woman, Bess Streeter Aldrich modeled protagonist Abbie Deal on her own mother, who in 1854 had traveled by covered wagon to the Midwest.

Learn more about the book and the selection process, and access resources.

Restoring the Burnt Child book cover2008

Restoring the Burnt Child by William Kloefkorn

By turns charming and resolute, funny and moving, Restoring the Burnt Child powerfully brings to life the lost, unforgettable world of a boy, and a poet, coming of age in midcentury middle America.

Learn more about the book and the selection process, and access resources.

Crazy Horse book cover2007

Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz

Published in 1942, Crazy Horse is one of the best-known books written by Sandoz. More than a description of the life of an individual, Crazy Horse is an in-depth look at the culture and spirituality of the Oglala Sioux.

Learn more about the book and the selection process, and access resources.

One False Move book cover2006

One False Move by Alex Kava

By selecting One False Move, Nebraska readers experienced a living author’s work and a contemporary novel set in metropolitan and rural Nebraska.

Learn more about the book and the selection process, and access resources.

My Antonia book cover2005

My Ántonia by Willa Cather

The Cather Foundation helped to initiate the first One Book One Nebraska to highlight and promote the 50th anniversary of the Willa Cather Foundation. My Ántonia details the history of homesteading and the making of community in Nebraska; however, it transcends Nebraska to become a story of the making of communities all across America.

Learn more about the book and the selection process, access resources, read up on the featured artist, and more.

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