Wouldn't it be great if kids all over Nebraska were talking about books? The Nebraska Library Commission & the Regional Library Systems have a program where kids can all read and discuss the same book. And tell us what you think about the selections.

2021 One Book for Nebraska Kids

"Harbor Me" by Jacqueline Woodson

Six kids are invited to spend the last hours of school on Friday in the ARTT Room (A Room To Talk). Their only assignment is to talk to each other about anything. It starts slowly but before long they are sharing their private concerns and hopes with each other. And all agree to keep to themselves whatever is said on Friday afternoon. Haley’s father is in prison, and she has never told anyone until now. Esteban is worried both about his father being deported, and about what that might mean for the rest of his family. Each of them has something they don’t want other people to know, but by sharing with their group, they learn more about themselves and their worries, hopes and dreams.

Find a copy of the book @ your library®—audio, eBook, and print editions are available

Discussion Guide from Penguin Random House (Harbor Me guide starts on page 10).

Jacqueline Woodson photo

About the Author: Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of dozens of award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.

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2021 One Book for Nebraska Teens

"Piecing Me Together" by Renée Watson

Jade (16) loves collage art and photography. She is a scholarship student at a mostly white prestigious private school and lives in what others consider a questionable area of Portland, Ore. She is invited to join the Woman to Woman program and if she stays with it for her last two years of high school she is guaranteed a college scholarship. During her junior year Jade makes friends with Sam (Samantha) who rides the same city bus to school. It isn’t long before things begin to chafe her, how her white friend makes excuses for prejudiced behavior and how she feels sometimes like the school, and even her mentor, Maxine (who is black), thinks she needs saving. She finally works on speaking up for herself. When she hears about a black girl at a pool party who was beaten by police, she has trouble dealing with it, but finally finds a positive way to respond (with others) and make a difference.

Find a copy of the book @ your library®—audio, eBook, and print editions are available

Discussion Guide from Curious City

Renée Watson photo

About the Author: Renée Watson (www.reneewatson.net) is the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor Book, and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, and Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as two acclaimed picture books: A Place Where Hurricanes Happen and Harlem's Little Blackbird, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She is the founder of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts, and currently lives in New York City.

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Beginning in 2013 we select both a One Book for Nebraska Kids and a One Book for Nebraska Teens every year. Prior to 2013 we alternated choosing titles. The "Kids" book is aimed at grades 4-6 or so and the "Teens" title is often aimed at high school age readers.

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Harbor Me

Copyright: 2020
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN-13: 978-0525515142
192 pages

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“The magic is in the writing. Woodson tells stories torn from headlines but personalizes them with poetry and memories, blunting their trauma with understanding and love. Haley’s history weaves in and out, drawing readers close. These children become each other's safe harbors and Woodson brilliantly shows readers how to find the connections we all need.”
Booklist, starred review



Girl, Stolen

Copyright: 2018
Publisher: ‎‎ Bloomsbury YA
ISBN-13: 978-1681191072
288 pages

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"A balancing act between class, race, and social dynamics, with Watson constantly undercutting stereotypes and showing no fear in portraying virtues along with vices. The book’s defiance of a single-issue lens will surely inspire discussion and consideration."


— Planning an event for 2021? Submit the name of the program, location, date and time to be included on the calendar of events.