One Book Siouxland

2024 One Book Siouxland

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About the Book

The 2024 One Book Siouxland selection is Don't Look Back by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton. Don't Look Back recounts Achut Deng’s story of escaping civil war in South Sudan, living in a Kenyan refugee camp, and coming to America. Deng faced loss, pain, and challenges during her journey. But, taught by the strong women in her life not to look back, Achut kept moving forward. Don't Look Back is a powerful story of hope, strength, and faith in the future.

Achut Deng Author Photo

About the Author

Achut Deng was born in South Sudan and came to America as a refugee when she was sixteen years old, a story she recounts in her memoir, Don't Look Back. She is now an American citizen and works as a safety coordinator at the Smithfield meat-packing plant in South Dakota, where she also resides. She is the mother of three sons.

Over the last year, Achut has shared her story with schools, professional groups, churches, conferences, and several national news organizations including the New York Times, The Daily Podcast, The Atlantic, NPR, the Boston Globe, the associated press, and Amna Nawaz of PBS Newshour.

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Upcoming Events

Registration opens in late February!

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Submit Your Entry Here

Don't Look Back Kick-off Event

Saturday, April 6
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Downtown Library

Register

Celebrate our 2024 One Book Siouxland title, Don’t Look Back by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton. Discuss the book, try authentic African food, and enjoy a performance by the Nepalese dance group, NSKK. Don’t miss the Refugee display, Seeking Safety, and the High School Art Expo, Looking Forward, available at the Downtown Library throughout April. Registration required.

Finding Freedom: Sharing Lived Refugee Experiences

Sunday, April 14
2-4 p.m.
Oak View Branch

Register

Walk a mile in the shoes of a refugee. Journey through a simulated refugee camp from border entry to destination/placement. Endure the obstacles of navigating the refugee camp and figuring out where to go from there. Registration required.

A Helping Hand: Welcoming Refugees to Sioux Falls

Thursday, April 18
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Downtown Library

Register

Discover how New Americans and Refugees learn about life in Sioux Falls after they arrive. A panel of professionals and volunteers will speak about how they help our newest community members navigate their new city. Registration required.

Don't Look Back Author Talk and Looking Forward Art Expo

Saturday, April 27
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Multicultural Center, The Coliseum

Register

Celebrate a great month of One Book programming by hearing our featured author, Achut Deng, speak about her experience as co-authored with Keely Hutton in Don’t Look Back. Meet the artists at our High School Art Expo and congratulate them on the hard work they put into their beautiful pieces related to themes in Deng’s book. Registration required.

 

2023 Accidental Rancher - Eliza Blue

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The 2023 One Book Siouxland selection was Accidental Rancher by Eliza Blue. In Accidental Rancher, Blue shares a collection of short stories about her life on the high plains, bringing a new voice and a musician's grace to the culture of rural America.

2022 | Winter Counts - David Heska Wanbli Weiden

The 2022 One Book Siouxland selection was David Heska Wanbli Weiden's award winning Winter Counts, a thriller set in and around South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. It features complex characters, believable conflicts, and an urgent message about Native culture, as well as the inequities in education opportunities and criminal justice.

2021 | 20th Anniversary of 9/11

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the 2021 One Book Siouxland took place in September. Two books were selected: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff.

2020 | The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

The 2020 One Book Siouxland selection was Kristin Hannah's bestselling The Great Alone, a gripping portrayal of a family seeking a fresh beginning in Alaska in the 1970s.

2019 | Prairie Fires - Caroline Fraser

In 2019, participants read Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Prairie Fires won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, as well as being named to New York Times' "10 Best Books of the Year."

2018 | A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

In 2018, One Book Siouxland participants read Fredrik Backman's best-selling book, A Man Called Ove. Library staff, in partnership with local library users, selected this story because of its theme--"people can change, even if they are set in their ways"--as well as the strong Swedish and Scandinavian heritage that is part of this region and the book.