Tag Archives: Books & Reading

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award Winners at Week Long Virtual Celebration

September 23, 2020

Tessa Terry

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award Winners at Week Long Virtual Celebration

Celebrate Nebraska’s 2020 Book Award winners with author readings and an awards presentation ceremony at the Nebraska Center for the Book’s week long virtual Celebration of Nebraska Books starting October 19th. Winners of the 2020 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 2019. And the winners are:

Children’s Picture Book: Your Bridge to History by Portia Love & Preston Love, Jr. Illustrated by Regina Jeanpierre. Publisher: Preston Publishing

Children’s Picture Book Honor: Major: A Soldier Dog by Trevor Jones. Illustrated by Ming Hai. Publisher: Six Foot Press

Cover/Design/Illustration: The Spirit of Nebraska: A History of Husker Game Day Traditions – the Tunnel Walk, Mascots, Cheer, and More by Debra Kleve White. Design by Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. Publisher: Cheerful Books

Fiction: See Willy See by Faith Colburn. Publisher: Prairie Wind Press

Fiction Honor Series: The Line Between: A Thriller and A Single Light: A Thriller by Tosca Lee. Publisher: Howard Books

Nonfiction Investigative Journalism: Zoo Nebraska: Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughan. Publisher: Little A

Nonfiction Nature Reference: Great Plains Birds: Discover the Great Plains by Larkin Powell. Publisher: Bison Books

Nonfiction Immigration Story: Citizen Akoy: Basketball and the Making of a South Sudanese American by Steve Marantz. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Nonfiction Nebraska Perseverance: Nebraska During the New Deal: The Federal Writers’ Project in the Cornhusker State by Marilyn Irvin Holt. Publisher: Bison Books

Nonfiction Native American History: Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power by Pekka Hämäläinen. Publisher: Yale University Press

Poetry: This Bright Darkness by Sarah McKinstry-Brown. Publisher: Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Honor: In a Good Time by Mark Sanders. Publisher: WSC Press

The virtual Celebration of Nebraska Books will also honor winners of the 2020 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 2020 One Book One Nebraska selection, All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire (William Morrow, 2016) will be featured in a keynote presentation. The introduction of the 2021 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities on Friday, October 23rd.

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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Throwback Thursday: Children Looking at Picture Books

Happy #ThrowbackThursday from Nebraska Memories!

This image of Nebraska history is published and owned by the Nebraska Library Commission. The collection includes material on the history of libraries in the state of Nebraska, mainly those built with Carnegie grants. The collection also includes items from the 1930s related to the Nebraska Public Library Commission bookmobile, as well as items showcasing the history of Nebraska’s state institutions.

If you like history, especially Nebraska history, check out the Nebraska Memories archive!

The Nebraska Memories archive is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. The Nebraska Memories archive is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information.

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Friday Reads: All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton (with Ken Gire)

All the Gallant Men is the Nebraska Center for the Book’s 2020 One Book One Nebraska selection. Donald Stratton’s memoir stems from his remarkable experience as a naval seaman serving on the USS Arizona. Stratton was among the survivors from the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is the only memoir written by a USS Arizona survivor.

Stratton’s book is not one that I would have selected to read on my own. I read it because of its nomination for the One Book One Nebraska program. It didn’t take many pages before appreciating Donald Stratton’s story. It is remarkable and inspiring. The book is much more than an account of the Pearl Harbor attack. Donald Stratton’s life is chronicled from his early years growing up in Red Cloud, Nebraska, joining the Navy following high school, military experience as a seaman. Later, Stratton traveled the world as a skilled commercial diver in the oil industry.

Stratton was severely burned during the Pearl Harbor attack but managed, along with a few others, to climb hand-over-hand on a rope to an adjacent ship, an astonishing feat considering the 70 feet length and the burned hands of the seamen and the fires burning below. The rope was thrown by Joe George, a sailor from the other ship. The rope throw was a heroic act that was never fully rewarded because George disobeyed an order to cut the lines that tied the two ships. Without the rope, these sailors would have perished. Stratton had a long and painful recovery. Even so, he endured and with determination reenlisted in the Navy. Offered a non-combat post, he instead chose to return to a battleship and rejoin the war in the Pacific. 

Donald Stratton’s story is dedicated to preserving the memory of the men aboard the USS Arizona – those that died and those that survived. In Stratton’s words: “I have tried my best to express what I could about what I experienced that day. It isn’t enough, though, because it is only one side of the story. The other side lies an ocean away. When you read a statistic, like 2,403 dead, it says so little. A statistical death is only the skeletal remains of a life. Without flesh and blood; its beating heart or its winking eye; its quick wit or its contagious laugh.”

I hope that many Nebraskans will read All the Gallant Men and that the book will lead to more stories about the experiences and sacrifices of those who serve and have served.

Ken Gire deserves recognition for his collaboration with Don Stratton to bring Stratton’s story to print. How that came about is an interesting story in itself (see writer’s postscript).

Described by family members as a humble and generous man, Donald Stratton passed away on February 15, 2020.

Donald Stratton and Ken Gire. All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor. HarperCollins. 2016.  

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