It’s time to share your summer reading picks!

Each year, we ask Nebraskans to nominate book titles for the Summer of Democracy Reading List. What should be included in 2022?


Dear friends,

A year ago today, our first book – Reclaiming WE: Twenty Everyday Acts to Strengthen the Common Good and Defend Democracy – was released into the wild. In the 52 weeks since then, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to the edition. Perhaps one of the most important chapters in Reclaiming WE discusses the act of reading. It says:
Reading is an act of engaged democratic citizenship. It builds empathy and character, expands knowledge, and encourages critical thought. Reading keeps us free.
It’s in that spirit today that we open the nomination process for our yearly reading project: The Summer of Democracy Reading List. Each spring, we ask Nebraskans to nominate book titles for all ages that are fun and funny as well as serious and fundamental to our democracy. We’re eager to hear your suggestions about what should be included in 2022.
Here’s how you can contribute to the Summer of Democracy Reading List:

Nominate a book you believe should be included.

Then, in an email, write down a few sentences about it, explaining how the book highlights civic values, promotes strong communities, or advocates for fundamental American rights. To get an idea of what we usually look for, here are the titles we selected in 2021, 20202019, and 2018.

Nominate big, serious nonfiction books for adults.

There are so many great titles out there that take deeper looks at our nation, our history, our civic life, and our prospects as a nation. For example, former GOP Congressman Will Hurd’s new book, American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Things Done, recently hit bookstores. Hurd takes on big problems facing our country, including his party’s need to present a principled vision for the future; the lack of honest leadership in Washington; income inequality that threatens the livelihood of millions of Americans; U.S. economic and military dominance that is no longer guaranteed; and how technological change in the next 30 years will make the advancements of the last 30 look trivial. Who knows? American Reboot might just make it onto the 2022 Summer of Democracy Reading List.

Nominate books for different ages – fiction and nonfiction alike. ​

Consider that there are civic lessons in books for different age groups. In both the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, lessons about everything from propaganda to how ordinary people can create and lead change in the face of entrenched power are upfront. Or Dear Martin, which is an excellent contemporary YA work that discusses the harsh realities of being Black in America. Sharing a range of titles and genres for readers of all ages builds engaged Nebraskans from ages 6 to 106. And variety is good!

Already know your picks? Let’s hear ’em!

Email your nomination(s) to me, Steve Smith, Civic Nebraska’s director of communications, by 5 pm CDT on Friday, May 20. Please include your name and your town or city of residence. If you live outside Nebraska, you’re welcome to participate – do please let us know if or how you’re connected to the Cornhusker State. Then, look for the complete Civic Nebraska Summer of Democracy Reading List the week before Memorial Day – just in time to kick off your summer reading. We’ll include links for each title in both print and ebook, whichever you might prefer. Then, it’s time to read.
We can’t wait to see your picks!
Steve Smith
Director of Communications
Civic Nebraska

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