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Public Information and Communication

May 15, 2014 

Tessa Terry

Kooser Book Chosen to Represent Nebraska

House Held Up by Trees, by Ted Kooser with Jon Klassen (Illustrator), will represent Nebraska at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. The book is the state’s selection for the National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places through Reading Map.” Each state selects one title of fiction or non-fiction, a book about the state or by an author from the state that is a good read for children or young adults. The map is distributed at the Pavilion of the States at the Festival and lists “Great Reads about Great Places.”  

Kooser’s children’s picture book offers a powerful view of the natural world. Though there’s a family involved, the real star of this multilayered modern parable is a plot of land...the artwork initially functions as stoic backdrop for the story, with wide-angle perspectives filled with plenty of open space and muted colors. But in the second part, as the trees take over, Klassen’s compositions command more and more attention, elbowing the text into the periphery and subtly reinforcing the themes in play... Unfolding with uncommon grace, the environmental heart of this story is revealed obliquely but powerfully. Ages 5-8. -Publishers Weekly  

Ted Kooser was the United States Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006 and won a Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Delights and Shadows. He is the author of twelve full-length volumes of poetry and several books of nonfiction, including Nebraska Book Award winner Local Wonders,  Seasons in the Bohemian Alps. His work has appeared in many periodicals. He is also the author of Bag in the Wind, his first picture book. Kooser lives in Garland, NE. For more information see Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back. The first picture book he illustrated, Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, won the Governor General’s Award for illustration in his native Canada. Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.  

The National Book Festival will be held in Washington, DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday August 30, 2014. This year’s festival will feature authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite poets and authors, get books signed, hear special entertainment, have photos taken with storybook characters, and participate in a variety of activities. The Pavilion of the States will represent reading and library programs and literary events in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trusts and territories. Children attending the festival are given maps to take to each state’s table to be stamped to receive a prize. Representatives from the Nebraska Library Commission and Nebraska Center for the Book will staff Nebraska’s table in the Pavilion. For more information see  

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 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,