Celebrate Nebraska’s 2021 Book Award Winners

September 15, 2021

Tessa Terry

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2021 Book Award Winners

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2021 Book Award winners with author readings and an awards presentation ceremony at the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books. Held at the Nebraska History Museum on October 23rd, winners of the 2021 Nebraska Book Awards will be honored and the celebration will include readings by some of the winning authors, designers and illustrators of books with a Nebraska connection published in 2020. And the winners are:

Children’s Picture Book: Letters from Space by Clayton Anderson, Illustrated by Susan Batori. Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Design: Sy’s Barbershop and Pool Hall: New and Selected Poems and Paintings by Jay D. Gerber. Publisher: Infusionmedia

Illustration: Lily Discovers People are Like Donuts by Rob Otte, Illustrated by Carey Goddard. Publisher: Jelly Donut Publishing

Illustration Honor: The Day We Went to the Park by Linda Stephen and Christine Manno, origami artwork by Linda Stephen. Publisher: Handersen Publishing

Fiction: The Brightest Place in the World by David Philip Mullins. Publisher: University of Nevada Press

Nonfiction Legal History: A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War by William G. Thomas III. Publisher: Yale University Press

Nonfiction Memoir: Dancing with the Octopus: A Memoir of a Crime by Debora Harding. Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Nonfiction Memoir Honor: Yards After Contact – Team Jack: Scoring a Touchdown Against Childhood Brain Cancer by Andrew Hoffman, foreword by Rex Burkhead. Publisher: Nico 11 Publishing and Design

Nonfiction Military History: A Mighty Force for Peace: A History of the Former Lincoln Air Force Base by Robert M. Branting. Publisher: Infusionmedia

Nonfiction Nebraska History: Never Caught Twice: Horse Stealing in Western Nebraska, 1850-1890 by Matthew S. Luckett. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Nonfiction Nebraska as Place: Cut in Stone, Cast in Bronze: Nebraska’s Historical Markers and Monuments, 1854-1967 by Jeff Barnes. Publisher: The Donning Company Publishers

Nonfiction Solidarity: American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland by Marie Mutsuki Mockett. Publisher: Graywolf Press

Nonfiction Urban History: My Omaha Obsession: Searching for the City by Miss Cassette, foreword by Chris Ware. Publisher: Bison Books

Poetry: Two-Toned Dress Lucy Adkins. Publisher: Blue Light Press

Poetry Honor: Forever War by Kate Gaskin. Publisher: YesYes Books

The Celebration of Nebraska Books, on October 23rd, will also honor winners of the 2021 Jane Geske and Mildred Bennett awards. The Mildred Bennett Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual heritage that enriches our lives and molds our world. The Jane Geske Award is presented to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of the libraries of Nebraska.

The 2021 One Book One Nebraska selection, Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II by James J. Kimble (Bison Books, 2014) will be featured in a keynote presentation by the author. The introduction of the 2022 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities.

The Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book and the Nebraska Library Commission, with support from History Nebraska’s Nebraska History Museum. Humanities Nebraska provides support for One Book One Nebraska. The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the national Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Nebraska Library Commission.

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”


The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.    

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