The North Platte Public Library, and groups across Nebraska, are planning special programs in March with the book Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene.The book is selected as Nebraska’s reading choice for the 2014 One Book One Nebraska statewide reading program. Individuals and reading clubs across the state will read the book about North Platte’s WWII Canteen and discuss it.
At the library, programs will include discussions, plus living history presentations as well as presentations about candy of the era and World War II military uniforms.
All library presentations will be free to the public.
The first program is Canteen Stories: A Living History Presentation at noon on Friday, March 7. The same program will be repeated at 2 p.m. the next day.
Local actors will portray canteen volunteers and others connected to the North Platte Canteen. Call the library for seat reservations.
In the nonfiction story, bestselling author and journalist Bob Greene goes in search of “the best America there ever was,” and finds it in a small Nebraska town few people pass through today — a town where Greene discovers the echoes of a love story between a country and its sons.
As most North Platte residents know, during World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte on troop trains en route to Europe and the Pacific.
North Platte, wanting to offer the servicemen warmth and support, transformed its modest railroad depot into the Canteen, and every day of the year throughout the war, the Canteen, staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers, was open from 5 a.m. until after midnight when the last troop train of the day pulled away.
Once Upon a Town tells the story of how our community of only 12,000 people provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food and treats to more than 6 million GIs by the time the war ended.
The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, is entering its 10th year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss a book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting.
A committee of the Nebraska Center for the Book selected Once Upon A Town from a list of 71 titles nominated by 141 Nebraskans from across the state.
The Nebraska Center for the Book board announced the choice for the 2014 One Book One Nebraska at the Celebration of Nebraska Books on Oct. 26 in Lincoln.