“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer selected as the 2023 Omaha Reads book

Each year, Omaha Public Library (OPL) encourages the community to vote for and read one book as a way to promote literacy and inspire discussion among Omaha and Douglas County residents. The selection is celebrated with book talks and other related programming. Join us in reading this year’s Omaha Reads selection, “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

“This year’s title asks readers to examine their relationship with the world surrounding them,” said OPL Executive Director Laura Marlane. “We look forward to discussions and programs designed to help readers explore some of the prominent themes presented in this book.”

Get involved with Omaha Reads by checking out the book, participating in a program, and discussing the book with friends, family and neighbors. All programs are free to attend, but registration may be required. Learn more and register at omahalibrary.org/omaha-reads.

Panel Discussion

Sunday, Sept. 24, 3 p.m.: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants: A Panel Discussion at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha, 6001 Dodge St. An interdisciplinary panel of professors, including Barbara Robins, Susana Grajales Geliga, Rudi Mitchell, and Elizabeth Chalecki. Panelists will share their

  • personal take on the many themes of “Braiding Sweetgrass,” including reciprocity, the sharing of gifts, and the link between scientific knowledge and indigenous ways of knowing. After the event, attendees can take a self-guided tour of UNO's Native Garden, located between Kayser Hall and Roskens Hall. This Indigenous Garden is home to native and food producing plants.

Book Club Discussion Groups:

  • Friday, Sept. 1, 10:30 a.m.: Between the Lines Book Club at Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, noon: Chat N Chew Book Club at Downtown Branch, 1401 Jones St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 14, 10:30 a.m.: Benson Pageturners Book Club at Benson Branch, 6015 Binney St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20, 12:30 p.m.: Jolly Neighbors Book Club at Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch, 2100 Reading Plz.
  • Thursday, Sept. 21, 2 p.m.: Page Turners Book Club at Saddlebrook Branch
  • Tuesday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m.: A Novel Idea Book Club at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 W. Dodge Rd.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m.: Willa Cather Book Club at Willa Cather Branch, 1905 S. 44th St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m.: Go Readers Go Book Club at Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.: Double Booked Book Club at Millard Branch, 13214 Westwood Ln.
  • Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.: Friends & Strangers Book Club at Milton R. Abrahams Branch

As a writer and a scientist, Kimmerer’s interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF, an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild. Learn more about the author and her writing at robinwallkimmerer.com.

Visit omahalibrary.org to reserve your copy of “Braiding Sweetgrass,” and for information about additional programs and resources offered at Omaha Public Library.