2003 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists
Winners are marked with an Oklahoma Book Award graphic.
by David Fitzgerald—Graphic
Arts Center Publishing, Portland, OR
This is the first large-format
photo-essay book about the Cherokee people’s
history and culture. Fitzgerald’s photographs, which capture
the diversity and common values of his subjects, were shown in a Smithsonian
exhibition, Cherokee: A Portrait of a People. The Oklahoma City native
received the 1999 Oklahoma Book Award in this category for Bison:
Monarch of the Plains.
Weasel!—Illustrated by Jon Goodell—Alfred
A. Knopf, New York, NY
Goodell earned his degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma
and has worked as an illustrator ever since. His paintings of the gorgeous
Tuscan landscape grace this trickster tale about a weasly weasel who
takes advantage of an industrious crow. In righting the wrong, the crow
discovers she may be piccola in size, but she is grande in spirit.
The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals—Drawings
by Murv Jacob—University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM
Jacob is an award-winning artist and pipe maker who makes his home
in Tahlequah. This marks the fourth time he has been honored as
Book Award finalist in design and illustration. The Great Ball
Game is inspired by an ancient Cherokee story about courage, creativity
Jacob’s drawings bring the characters of this legend to life
for a new generation of children.
Will Rogers—Illustrated by Mike
Whistle / Harcourt, Inc., San Diego, CA
Norman’s Michael Wimmer received the 1995 Oklahoma Book Award in
design/illustration for All the Places to Love, and his book Home
Run: The Story of Babe Ruth was named a Notable Children’s Book by the
American Library Association. For Will Rogers, Wimmer’s illustrations
capture the state’s favorite son from his boyhood days in Oklahoma
to his role as a citizen of the world.
the Dreamland: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921—Alfred L.
University Press, New York, NY
Drawn on extensive contemporary accounts and court documents, Brophy
offers a gut-wrenching portrait of mob violence and racism. In addition
to the revelations and stark narrative of the events of 1921, Brophy
also considers the case surrounding reparations for the victims of the
riot and the implications for other reparations movements, including
those for slavery. Brophy, who contributed to the report to the Tulsa
Race Riot Commission, is professor of law at the University of Alabama.
Outlaw Woman: Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975—Roxanne
Lights Books, San Francisco, CA
A dedicated activist and one of the founders of the early women’s
liberation movement, Dunbar-Ortiz tells about her decades of involvement
with Students for a Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, the
Revolutionary Union, the African National Congress, among other groups
and causes. Through a working-class, feminist lens, this is a fascinating
view of one of the most extraordinary times in U.S. history. Dunbar-Ortiz
is professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies
at California State University, Hayward. She grew up in Piedmont.
Te Ata: Chickasaw Storyteller, American Treasure—Richard
of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
Set against the historical, political, economic, and social upheavals
of the Dawes allotment program, Green, tribal historian for the Chickasaw
Nation, recounts the life of Te Ata. From her early life in Tishomingo
to her performances before European royalty and across the Americas,
Te Ata’s special talent for collecting, adapting, and performing
the stories of her Chickasaw family is displayed through personal papers,
memorabilia, letters and photographs.
An American Cycling Odyssey, 1887—Kevin J. Hayes—University
of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE
Described as “an entertaining, informative, and well-written romp
across late-nineteenth-century America,” Hayes meticulously compiled
this fascinating account of a cross-country bicycle ride. Accomplished
by newspaperman George Nellis (1965-1948), the trip was re-constructed
using Nellis’ letters and media coverage about his journey. Presented
in compelling detail, the reader gains a close-up view of America and
Americans of the time. Hayes is professor of English at the University
of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and its Legacy—James
Mifflin Company, Boston, MA
Hirsch has produced an extensive investigation into the causes of the
race riot, including what he has called de facto apartheid, and the legacy
the riot has left during the past eight decades. Tracing how the memory
of the riot gradually revived through the work of academics and ordinary
citizens of all colors, Hirsch addresses the ironies in today’s
battles about affirmative action and reparations. Hirsch is a former
staff reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; he
lives in the Boston area.
A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape—Michael
University Press, Cambridge, MA
Hostile habitats can reveal remarkable behavioral, physiological, and
ecological adaptations to field observers with fortitude enough to struggle
through the perils and pitfalls awaiting them. Deserts denote barren
wasteland, but Mares, while revealing intimately the biologist’s
life in the field, presents his life-filled findings from the deserts
of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the American Southwest. The driving force
in the establishment of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
at the University of Oklahoma, and its former director, Mares serves
as the museum’s curator of mammals.
Prayer on Top of the Earth: The Spiritual Universe of the Plains
Parker Schweinfurth—University Press of Colorado, Boulder, CO
The important ethnographic information about the Plains Apaches is preserved
in this work about the spiritual lives of the tribe. From the U.S. Government
ban on native religions, to the arrival of the evangelicals, to the birth
of the peyote religion, this work reveals the Apaches’ spiritual
challenges, in part, through the eyes of the last surviving primary repositories
of Apache history. Schweinfurth is a native Oklahoman and a research
Backyard Brawl: Inside the Blood Feud Between Texas and Texas
Stratton—Crown Publishers, New York, NY
This historic football and cultural rivalry, once postponed because the
fans were just too violent, is chronicled in vivid detail. In ethnographic
style, Stratton describes the cultural divide, capturing the color and
deeper significance of this game by victories and defeats, triumph and
tragedy. Stratton, who was raised in Oklahoma, writes for the Dallas
Morning News and has contributed to many national magazines.
Blood Politics: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Cherokee Nation
of Oklahoma—Circe Sturm—University of California Press, Berkeley,
This insightful analysis probes the intersection of race and national
identity. Sturm considers the social and political construction of Cherokee
identity, as well as the blood connections to the tribe. Combining contemporary
ethnography with ethnohistory, the meanings and significance of race
and identity are considered, along with the dangers of linking them.
Strum is assistant professor of anthropology and Native American studies
at the University of Oklahoma.
What Color is a Conservative? My Life and My Politics—J.C.
Watts Jr. with Chris Winston—Harper Collins, New York, NY
A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Watts relates the
stories of his early life in Awfully, his years as an Oklahoma Sooner
quarterback, his years in politics, and his decision to retire. The first
black Republican elected to Congress from a southern state since Reconstruction,
Watts, in straight talk, shares his perspectives about the nation’s
parties and politics.
Canyon Press, Port Townsend, WA
In his ninth book of poems, Corn explores multiple and often opposing
viewpoints to illuminate objects, places and ideas. Corn was raised in
Georgia and earned degrees from Emory and Columbia University. He is
a visiting professor at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and
held the 2001-2002 Bell Chair at the University of Tulsa.
How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems—Joy Hairdo—W.W.
Norton & Company,
New York, NY
This collection offers a selection of Joy Hairdo’s body of work,
including new poetry written within the past four years, as well as author
commentary on the individual poems. Hairdo received the 1995 Oklahoma
Book Award in Poetry for The Woman Who Fell from the Sky. She is tonight’s
recipient of the Oklahoma Center for the Book’s Areal
Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Book of Jade—Bun Bang—Story Line Press, Ashland, OR
This work was selected from 900 entries to receive the 15th Annual Nicholas
Roerich Poetry Prize. Yun Wang employs the heart of a poet and the mind
of a scientist to plot the hidden meanings in experiences both personal
and universal, horrifying and beautiful. She was born in a small town
in Southwest China in 1964 and came to the United States to study physics
in 1985. She is an assistant professor specializing in theoretical cosmology
at the University of Oklahoma.
Babbs Switch Story—Darleen Bailey Beard—Farrar,
Straus, and Giroux, New York, NY
Babbs Switch, Oklahoma was a real town, and a thriving community until
a fire in its one-room schoolhouse claimed the lives of thirty-six people
on Christmas Eve, 1924. Based on this true story that made national headlines,
Bailey Beard’s novel is also filled with warmth and humor, and
told in the sparkling voice of a spunky, irreverent heroine. The author
is a frequent speaker to young people, and lives in Norman with her two
children, Spencer and Karalee.
Tulsa Burning—Anna Myers—Walker and Company, New York, NY
While there have been many articles and books in recent years on the
tragedy of the 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Myers wanted to add a book for
young people to that list, because “it is the young who must learn
from mistakes made by earlier generations.” Author of eleven books
for young people, Myers is a two-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award
in the Children/Young Adult Category. She won in 1993 for Red Dirt
Jessie and in 1996 for Graveyard Girl. She has recently moved to Tulsa.
Goosed—Bill Wallace—Holiday House, New York, NY
When his owners receive a mysterious box, T.P. the dog decides to investigate.
T.P. does not know how to react to a new … puppy. A prolific writer,
Wallace has written or co-written 25 novels for young people and won
numerous awards. He received the 2000 Arrell Gibson
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. A former elementary teacher
and principal, he and his wife Carol, also a writer, live in Chickasha.
Wingwalker—Rosemary Wells—Hyperion Books for Children, New
Wingwalker takes us back to a small town in Oklahoma shortly after the
droughts of the Dust Bowl. Second-grader Reuben’s secure life has
vanished, and he needs a measure of love and courage. Wells shows us
a lost America, of small farms and county fairs where men and women danced
on the wings of planes for a few dollars. A versatile author, Wells is
renowned for her outstanding picture books. She lives in Westchester
County, New York.
Bernhardt—Ballantine Books, New York, NY
Tulsa attorney Ben Kincaid is back in action, this time defending a priest
with renegade views and a violent temper. Bernhardt, an attorney himself,
is often called “the master of the courtroom drama.” The
author of fifteen books, he has twice won the Oklahoma Book Award in
the Fiction category: in 1995 for Perfect Justice, and in 2000 for Dark
Justice. He lives in Tulsa with his wife Kirsten, and their children,
Harry, Alice, and Ralph.
Mask Maker: A Novel—Diane Glancy—University of Oklahoma
Press, Norman, OK
Edith Lewis, a recently divorced mixed-blood American Indian, travels
Oklahoma teaching students the custom of mask making. As Edith works
to reach students on an intuitive, creative level, she confronts her
own questions about identify and meaning. Glancy was, herself, an artist-in-residence
for the Oklahoma State Arts Council. Today, she is a Professor of English
at Macalester College in Minnesota. She has been a finalist for the Oklahoma
Book Award in the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction categories.
The Wailing Wind—Tony Hillerman—Harper Collins, New York,
The recipient of the Oklahoma Center for the Book’s Arrell
Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991, Hillerman is also Past President
of the Mystery Writers of America and has received its Edgar and Grand
Master Awards. Other honors include the Navajo Tribe’s Special
Friend Award. In The Wailing Wind, he combines knowledge of Navajo country
and traditions with his mystery writing skills. He and his wife Marie
live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Shell Shaker—LeAnne Howe—Aunt Lute Books, San Francisco,
Two murders, separated by more than two centuries, form the framework
for this story about the strength of love, family, culture and heritage.
It is the destiny of the women in a Choctaw family to solve both murders
with the help of the Shell Shaker, a powerful spirit and a peacemaker
of the Choctaw people. A fiction writer, playwright, scholar and poet,
Howe is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She currently
lives in Ohio.
Oblivion’s Altar—David Marion Wilkinson—New American
Library/Penguin Putnam, New York, NY
Once a respected warrior, the great Cherokee chieftain known as the Ridge
was later considered a traitor, hunted down by his own tribe. Based on
historical events, Wilkinson’s novel details the Ridge’s
contribution to the survival of the Cherokee Nation, a contribution that
would be forgotten on the infamous Trail of Tears. Wilkinson is an award-winning
author who lives in Austin with his wife and two sons.
The Oklahoma Center for the Book, sponsor of the Oklahoma Book Award
competition, is a non-profit, 501-c-3 organization located in the Oklahoma
Department of Libraries. Established in 1986 as an outreach program of
the Library of Congress, the Oklahoma Center was the fourth such state
center formed. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors from across
The mission of the Oklahoma Center for
the Book is
promote the work of Oklahoma authors,
to promote the
literary heritage of the state, and
to encourage reading
for pleasure by Oklahomans of all ages.
For more information about the Oklahoma Center for the Book or the Oklahoma
Book Award program, contact Connie Armstrong, 200 N.E. 18th Street,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73105; or call 505-522-3383.
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