Book Kits

Book Discussion Kits

Any school media center or public library within the Southeast Library System may borrow multiple copies of a book to use for classes, book clubs, or discussion groups. In some cases we are able to send book kits to Nebraska libraries outside of our service area. Due dates are negotiable, but are usually six weeks from the checkout date. To check out a book kit, please contact the SELS office by calling 402-467-6188, or send us an email at selsne@gmail.com.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

(10 copies- Hardcover)

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?
Set in a near future America, this book takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 

(10 copies- Paperback)

Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other — if only he can come out of the war alive.

All the Gallant Men:An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton, Ken Gire

10 copies – Paperback

This is the story of Nebraska sailor Donald Stratton, one of the few survivors of the sinking of the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite being discharged due to medical unfitness for battle, Don would return to the Pacific arena to participate in the final battles of World War II.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

10 copies – Hardcover

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city.

Beautiful Maria of My Soul by Oscar Hijuelos

8 copies- Hardcover

In 1950s Manhattan, Nestor and Cesar Castillo play the sumptuous mambo beats of their native Cuba, where their biggest hit, “Beautiful Maria of My Soul,” earns them a spot on “I Love Lucy” –but their hopes for the future are dashed by a tragic accident. Hijuelos returns to the story of his Pulitzer-Prize winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, this time telling it from Maria’s perspective. Maria arrives in Havana, one of the great beauties in a city of gorgeous chorus girls, and becomes the true passion of Nestor’s life. Having fled Cuba and her life there, Maria has never forgotten Nestor or the promise of what could have been, her memories set to the song bearing her name.

The Bible Salesman: A Novel by Clyde Edgerton

9 copies – Hardcover

Preston Clearwater has been a criminal since stealing two chain saws and 1600 pairs of aviator sunglasses from the Army during the Second World War. Back on the road in post-war North Carolina, a member of a car-theft ring, he picks up hitch-hiking Henry Dampier, an innocent nineteen-year-old Bible salesman. Clearwater immediately recognizes Henry as just the associate he needs–one who will believe Clearwater is working as an F.B.I. spy; one who will drive the cars Clearwater steals as Clearwater follows along in another car at a safe distance. Henry joyfully sees a chance

Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

15 copies – Paperback

Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk’s searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, as a history of a Native nation, or as an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable.

 

Black Juice by Margo Lanagan

11 copies – Paperback

In this extraordinary short story collection, human frailty is put to the test by the relentless forces of dark and light, man and beast. Each tale offers glimpses into familiar, shadowy worlds that push the boundaries of the spirit and leave the mind haunted with the knowledge that black juice runs through us all.

Bloody Lies: A CSI Scandal in the Heartland by John Ferak

10 copies – Paperback

The remote farming community of Murdock, Nebraska,  had gone more than a century without a single homicide. But on the night of Easter 2006, Wayne and Sharmon Stock were brutally murdered in their home. Practically everybody around Murdock was filled with fear, panic, and outrage. Who killed Wayne and Sharmon Stock? What was the motive? And then the investigation went awry.

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits

15 copies – Paperback

A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical—and not so typical—teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable. Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie’s a girl with strong opinions, and she isn’t shy about sharing them. The playful layout and ingenious graphics extend the wry humor.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

24 copies – Paperback

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
Set during World War II in Germany, this is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids – as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

The Bones of Paradise by Jonis Agee

10 copies – Paperback

This book is a multi-generational family saga, set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sandhills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee. J. B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native
American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J. B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: his
cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his young sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths
unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennett’s and their damning secrets are revealed,  exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught
between past and future.

Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper 

15 copies – Paperback

Amari’s life was once perfect. She was engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and lived in a beautiful village, but then slave traders invaded her village and brutally murdered her entire family.  Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present. Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape with an indentured servant named Polly. Can the elusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?

Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Ogalalas by Mari Sandoz

11 copies – Paperback

Crazy Horse, the military leader of the Oglala Sioux whose personal power and social nonconformity set him off as “strange,” fought in many famous battles, including the one at the Little Bighorn. He held out boldly against the government’s efforts to confine the Sioux on reservations. Finally, in the spring of 1877 he surrendered, one of the last important chiefs to do so, only to meet a violent death. Mari Sandoz, the noted author of Cheyenne Autumn and Old Jules, both available as Bison Books, has captured the spirit of Crazy Horse with a strength and nobility befitting his heroism.

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

 10 copies – Paperback

Beverly Deepe 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.  She tells of traveling to jungles where Wild West–styled forts first dotted Vietnam’s borders and where, seven years later, they fell like dominoes from communist-led attacks. In 1965 she braved elephant grass with American combat units armed with unparalleled technology to observe their valor—and their inability to distinguish friendly farmers from hide-and-seek guerrillas.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

10 copies – Hardcover

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman 

15 copies – Paperback

Sixteen-year-old Blake and his younger brother, Quinn, are exact opposites. Blake is the responsible member of the family. He constantly has to keep an eye on the fearless Quinn, whose thrill-seeking sometimes goes too far. But the stakes get higher when Blake has to chase Quinn into a bizarre phantom carnival that traps its customers forever. In order to escape, Blake must survive seven deadly rides by dawn, each of which represents a deep, personal fear — from a carousel of stampeding animals to a hall of mirrors that changes people into their deformed reflections. Blake ultimately has to face up to a horrible secret from his own past.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles 

10 copies – Hardback

When in 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, he is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

12 copies – Paperback

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into haves and have-nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

10 copies – Paperback

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

10 copies – Paperback

It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father—but no one will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he’s working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she is—and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world.

Heat by Mike Lupica

15 copies – Paperback

Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat. Newly orphaned after his father led the family’s escape from Cuba, Michael’s only family is his seventeen-year old brother Carlos. If Social Services hears of their situation… Together, the boys carry on alone, dodging bills and anyone who asks too many questions. But then someone wonders how a twelve-year-old boy could possibly throw with as much power as Michael Arroyo throws. With no way to prove his age, no birth certificate, and no parent to fight for his cause, Michael’s secret world is blown wide open, and he discovers that family can come from the most unexpected sources.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

10 copies – Paperback

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.
Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. They left behind their work as teachers in the segregated schools of the South for the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout

9 copies – Paperback

The early pioneers do anything they can to survive dreadful conditions. Women especially struggle with broken hearts and minds as they face bitter hardships.The situation calls for a “homesman” –a person charged with taking these women, driven mad by the conditions of rural life, to asylums in the East. Not exactly a job people are lining up for, it falls to Mary Bee Cuddy, an ex-teacher and spinster, who is indomitable, resourceful, and “plain as an old tin pail.” Brave as she is, Mary Bee knows she can’t make it alone, so she takes along her only available companion: the lowlife and untrustworthy George Briggs.

The Home Place by Wright Morris 

12 copies – Paperback

Reproduced from the 1948 edition of The Home Place , the Bison Book edition brings back into print an important early work by one of the most highly regarded of contemporary American Writers.This account in first-person narrative and photographs of the one-day visit of Clyde Muncy to “the home place” at Lone Tree, Nebraska, has been called “as near to a new fiction form as you could get.” Both prose and pictures are homely: worn linoleum, an old man’s shoes, well-used kitchen utensils, and weathered siding. Muncy’s journey of discovery takes the measure of the man he has become and of what he has left behind.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

15 copies – Paperback

Though Joey has been deaf since the age of six, her mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, Charlie’s and Sukari’s choices begin to narrow–until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt.

I am a Man by Joe Starita

10 copies – Paperback

In 1877, Chief Standing Bear’s Ponca Indian tribe was forcibly removed from their Nebraska homeland and marched to Oklahoma in what became the tribe’s own Trail of Tears. Standing Bear set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to return the body of his only son to their traditional burial ground. He was arrested for having left Indian Territory.  Standing Bear successfully used
habeas corpus, the only liberty included in the original text of the Constitution, to gain access to a federal court and ultimately his freedom.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln: A Novel by Stephen L. Carter

10 copies – Paperback

In this alternate history President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority, both during and after the Civil War, and faces an impeachment trial . . .
Twenty-one-year-old Abigail Canner is a young black woman with a degree from Oberlin and a letter of employment from the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense. When Lincoln’s lead counsel is found brutally murdered on the eve of the trial, Abigail is plunged into a web of intrigue and conspiracy.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

10 copies – Paperback

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends, and other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil? Inspired by the classic folk ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this is a wonderfully riveting and haunting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

10 copies – Hardcover

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship.

A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

19 copies – Paperback

Abbie Deal accompanies her family to the soon-to-be state of Nebraska. There, in 1865, she marries and settles into a sod house of her own. The novel describes Abbie’s years of child-raising, of making a frontier home able to withstand every adversity. A disciplined writer knowledgeable about true stories of pioneer days in Nebraska, Bess Streeter Aldrich conveys the strength of everyday things, the surprise of familiar faces, and the look of the unspoiled landscape during different seasons. Refusing to be broken by hard experience, Abbie sets a joyful example for her family – and for her readers.

The Last Newspaper Boy in America by Sue Corbett

10 copies – Paperback

Wil’s sidearm throw can land a paper on your porch from twenty yards out. But he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to put his unusual talent to use because the big newspaper company has canceled delivery to Wil’s small town.
Well, that was the paper’s first mistake. Underestimating Wil was the second. With physics, his clueless brother, and a neighbor girl on his side, Wil fights to save his route. Along the way he just might unravel a carnival mystery, expose a con artist, rescue his little town, and become a big hero. Brace for hilarious dialogue, nonstop action, and a one-of-a-kind family story.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

10 copies – Paperback

Marcus’ whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: “M1k3y” will take down the DHS himself.

Local Wonders by Ted Kooser
 
13 copies – Paperback
 
Kooser describes with exquisite detail and humor the place he calls home in southeastern Nebraska—an area known as the Bohemian Alps.  Memories of his grandmother’s cooking are juxtaposed with reflections about the old-fashioned outhouse on his property. Kooser reminds us that the closing of local schools, county weed control, and irresponsible housing development destroy more than just the view. In the end, what makes life meaningful for Kooser are the ways in which his neighbors care for one another and how an afternoon walking with an old dog, or baking a pie, or decorating the house for Christmas can summon memories.

The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker

15 copies – Paperback

 Set in 1918 in the farm country at the heart of America, The Meaning of Names is the story of an ordinary woman trying to raise a family during extraordinary times. Estranged from her parents because she married against their will, confronted with violence and prejudice against her people, and caught up in the midst of the worst plague the world has ever seen, Gerda Vogel, an American of German descent, must find the strength to keep her family safe from the effects of a war that threatens to consume the whole world.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

10 copies – Hardcover

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again. Aaron spends his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

9 copies – Hardcover

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. Edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell.

10 copies – Paperback

Poems by more than 80 contemporary Nebraska poets, including Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Ted Kooser, Nebraska State Poet William Kloefkorn, several poets who have had their poems read on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac including Greg Kuzma, Marjorie Saiser, Twyla Hansen, Grace Bauer, and Greg Kosmicki, as well as widely noted poets Hilda Raz, Roy Scheele, Steve Langan, and many others.

Nobody’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner

15 copies – Paperback

She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed “son of Zeus” Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi. History and myth are woven together for a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

10 copies – Hardcover

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that.
The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. How can the new Travis and the old Travis coexist?

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

10 copies – Paperback

Alexandra Bergson is a fiercely independent young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father’s farm in Nebraska. A model of emotional strength, courage, and resolve, Alexandra fights long and hard to transform her father’s patch of raw, wind-blasted prairie into a highly profitable business.
A gripping saga of love, murder, greed, failure, and triumph, O Pioneers! vividly portrays the hardships of prairie life. Above all, it champions the belief that hard work is the surest road to personal fulfillment.

On the Rocks: A Willa Cather and Edith Lewis Mystery by Sue Hallgarth

13 copies – Paperback

The year is 1929 and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Willa Cather and her partner Edith Lewis are summering on Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy. In their cottage’s sparsely-furnished attic room, Cather is at work writing Shadows on the Rock, her tenth novel. Edith is painting watercolors from the cliffs two hundred feet above the rising tides of Whale Cove. Out of the corner of her eye, Edith sees a body plunge from the edge of a cliff to the rocks below….  This mystery offers an intimate view of village politics and the goings-on of two women’s communities long lost to history.

Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene

10 copies – Paperback


During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town, wanting to offer the servicemen warmth and support, transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen.
Every day of the year, every day of the war, the Canteen—staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers—was open from five a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight.

One False Move by Alex Kava

10 copies – Paperback

Melanie Starks and her son, Charlie, have been running petty con jobs for as long as either can remember. Now, just as Melanie is ready to settle down, her brother, Jared Barnett, reenters their lives with a ballsy plan for the ultimate heist. Recently released after serving live years of a life sentence for murder, Jared is frighteningly high on the feeling of invincibility that comes from getting away with murder. Melanie and Charlie agree to Jared’s plot to rob a local Nebraska bank, but during the holdup, everything goes terribly wrong and innocent people end up dead. Suddenly Melanie, Charlie and Jared are on the run, and more lives are at stake–now that the threesome have nothing left to lose.

Panic by Sharon M. Draper

25 copies – Paperback

Diamond knows not to get into a car with a stranger. But what if the stranger is well-dressed and handsome? On his way to meet his wife and daughter? And casting a movie that very night—a movie in need of a star dancer? What then?
Then Diamond might make the wrong decision.
It’s a nightmare come true: Diamond Landers has been kidnapped. She was at the mall with a friend, alone for only a few brief minutes—and now she’s being held captive, forced to endure horrors beyond what she ever could have dreamed, while her family and friends experience their own torments and wait desperately for any bit of news.

Potato Soup by Twyla Hansen

15 copies – Paperback

This book was the winner of the Nebraska Book Award in Poetry for 2004. Former poet laureate of the United States, Ted Kooser, says: “Potato Soup
is rich with climate, place, color, detail and life, capturing within the covers of a single engaging and lovely collection so much of our part of the planet.” Twyla was Nebraska’s State Poet for the period 2013-2018.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

15 copies – Paperback

In her powerful black-and-white comic strip memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life.

Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II by James J. Kimble 

10 copies – Paperback

In WW II arms production fell dangerously behind schedule due to a shortage of steel. Henry Doorly, publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, had the solution. Prairie Forge tells the story of the great Nebraska scrap drive of 1942.  Kimble chronicles Doorly’s conception of a fierce competition pitting county against county, business against business, and, in schools across the state, class against class—inspiring Nebraskans to gather 67,000 tons of scrap metal in only three weeks. This astounding feat provided the template for a national drive.

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan

15 copies – Paperback

In this provocative graphic novel, Vaughan examines life on the streets of war-torn Iraq. In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, Pride of Baghdad raises questions about the true meaning of liberation – can it be given or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?

Red Cell by John Kalkowski

15 copies – Paperback

After winning a baseball game with an innovative toss of a rosin bag, Will Conlan catches the interest of a chief operative of the Homeland Security’s Analytic Red Cell. Employing the creative problem solving of philosophers, futurists, and Hollywood movie writers, this intelligence unit is seeking any original ideas about anticipating terrorist plots. The operative banks on the notion that Will’s youthful imagination, unclouded by the premise of it can’t be done, may provide the key insight they need and seeks to secretly exploit Will’s unhindered out of the box thinking. But Will uncovers something he wasn’t supposed to discover…

Rescue Josh McGuire by Ben Mikaelsen

15 copies – Paperback

A daring rescue…or a deadly risk? Ever since Josh’s older brother died, his father has been drinking too much and taking his anger out on Josh. But when he orphans a bear cub on a hunting trip, it’s more than Josh can stand. Josh insists on bringing the defenseless cub home – only to find out he must surrender it to game officials. Knowing the cub will be given to researchers, Josh makes a defiant choice. Taking only his brother’s motorcycle, the cub, and his dog, Josh runs away to the mountains, vowing to stay until the hunting laws are changed. But the mountains hold unexpected menace, and Josh’s bid for justice soon becomes a battle to survive.

Restoring the Burnt Child by William Kloefkorn

10 copies – Paperback

Negotiating the no man’s land between ages nine and thirteen, this memoir of a small-town boy’s life in 1940’s Kansas continues the story William Kloefkorn began in his much-loved volume This Death by Drowning . With characteristic humor and in prose as lyrical as his best poetry, Kloefkorn describes the unsentimental education he received at the hands of the denizens of Urie’s Barber Shop and the Rexall Drugstore and at the knees of the true characters who made up his family. From the “firefly” stunt that nearly burns down his home to the distant firestorms of World War II, fire holds an endless range of subtle and surprising lessons for the boy.

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman 

15 copies – Paperback

They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing’s for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me. My name is Antsy Bonano, and I was the one who realized the Schwa was “functionally invisible” and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should. So if you all just shut up and listen, I’ll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. I’ll spill everything. Unless, of course, “the Schwa Effect” wipes him out of my brain before I’m done…

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

10 copies – Paperback

Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he  enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal.
Two centuries later there is a strange passage in a novel: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him. When detective Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home, and a childhood friend from the Night City.

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

15 copies – Paperback

Eddie hasn’t had an easy year. First his father dies. Then his best friend Billy accidentally kicks a stack of sheetrock over on himself, breaking his neck and effectively hitting tilt on his Earthgame. Eddie and Billy were inseparable. Still are. Billy isn’t going to let a little thing like death stop him from hanging in there with his friend. And when Eddie faces an epic struggle with the powers that be, Billy will remain right there beside him.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

15 copies – Paperback

A compelling, often hilarious forensic exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They’ve tested France’s first guillotines, ridden the NASA space shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.

Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman

10 copies – Paperback

 “My life is like one of those “good news-bad news” jokes. Like, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news— – which do you want first?” I could go on about my good news for hours, but you probably want to hear the punch line, my bad news, right? Well, there isn’t that much, really, but what’s here is pretty wild. First off, my parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My being born changed everything for all of us, in every way. My dad didn’t divorce my mom, or my sister, Cindy, or my brother, Paul; —he divorced me. He couldn’t handle my condition, so he had to leave. My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news.”

The Taker by J.M. Steele

14 copies – Paperback

High school senior Carly Biels is a shoo-in for acceptance into Princeton. As long as she does decently on the SAT. When Carly gets her scores, she has to face facts: she tanked. Really tanked. Now she has only one more chance to take the test, and she’s going to have to buckle down and get some help. Unfortunately, her boyfriend Brad seems to have other, less academic things on his mind. Her geeky neighbor Ronald turns out to be surprisingly helpful (and sweet), but will his tutoring be enough to get her the scores she needs? Desperate, she turns to the mysterious Taker, who will take the exam for her. But that decision will have consequences that affect every aspect of her life.

A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

9 copies – Paperback

A Tale of Two Cities:
The lives of Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris.
Great Expectations:
A series of events changes the orphaned Pip’s life, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dickens’s depicts Pip’s education and development.

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm by Ted Genoways

10 copies – Hardback

Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm—and their entire way of life—are under siege. Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Genoways explores the rapidly changing landscape of small, traditional farming operations. This is an exploration of the history of the American small farm and a vivid, nuanced portrait of one family’s fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld 

15 copies – Paperback

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

10 copies – Hardcover

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

13 copies – Paperback

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

10 copies – Paperback

Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in America in the aftermath of WWII. When Evie’s father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio 

10 copies – Hardback

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficing, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn 

7 copies – Paperback

When Nebraska police officer and divorced mother of three Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired.  Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission.  After unravelling the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution, Bolkovac was fired and ultimately forced to flee the country under cover of darkness–bringing the incriminating documents with her.

The World’s Largest Man: a Memoir by Harrison Scott Key

10 copies – Paperback

Harrison Scott Key grew up in Mississippi, among pious Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father—a hunter, a fighter, and a football coach. Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn’t have been less like Pop, and he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison began to view his father in a new light and realized how much like his old man he’d become.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

10 copies – Hardcover

Abandoned at age ten, Kya has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

Book synopses courtesy of GoodReads.com, often shortened and edited to fit the space available.