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2005 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists

Oklahoma Book Award

Children/Young Adults

We Go in a CirclePeggy Perry Anderson—Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA
What happens to a racehorse that hurts its leg? In Anderson’s simple and sensitive story, the horse finds a new mission through hippo therapy—the use of horseback riding to assist children and adults with special needs. Anderson is a full-time elementary school teacher and mother of three living in Owasso, Oklahoma. She has written and illustrated several picture books for children featuring Joe the frog.

Rabbit Goes Duck HuntingDeborah L. Duvall—Univ. of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM
This is the fifth title in Deborah Duvall and illustrator Murv Jacob’s series of Cherokee Grandmother Stories. In this adventure, Rabbit, whose Cherokee name is Ji-Stu, tries to catch the mighty Chief of All the Wood Ducks, and he will need all of his skills to escape a perilous predicament. Duvall is the author of several other books on Cherokee history and legend. She makes her home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Book Award logo indicating this year's winner
Winner for Young Adult

Simon SaysMolly Levite Griffis—Eakin Press, Austin, TX
Simon Says is the third title in Griffis’s World War II home front trilogy, which began with The Rachel Resistance and continued with The Feester Filibuster. In the final chapter, the author takes us back to Apache, Oklahoma, to tell the poignant story of an uprooted Jewish boy who loses his identity but holds on to his life. The Rachel Resistance received the 2002 Oklahoma Book Award. Griffis lives with her husband in Norman, Oklahoma.

Grand Canyon RescueDevon Mihesuah—Booklocker, Bangor, ME
Fourteen-year-old Tuli Black Wolf becomes separated from her tracker mother during a search and rescue mission in the Grand Canyon. When Tuli finds the lost hunters, she must find a way to save them and herself in this empowering adventure novel. The Oklahoma Writers’ Federation named Grand Canyon Rescue a Best Young Adult Novel. Oklahoma Choctaw Devon Milhesuah has written extensively about American Indian histories and cultures. She is professor of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

HoggeeAnna Myers—Walker & Company, New York, NY
Howard and his brother Jack work as hoggees, driving the mules that pulled boats along the Erie Canal. Howard stays behind on the canal during the winter in an attempt to outshine his older, more charming brother. But when his job falls through, he finds himself in dire straits. In the middle of his desperation, he meets a girl named Sarah, who suffers from her own unique problem. Howard’s attempts to help Sarah will eventually reveal how he really compares to his brother. Myers is a two-time Oklahoma Book Award winner and a perennial finalist in the Children/Young Adult category.

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Winner for Children

The Gospel CinderellaJoyce Carol Thomas—Joanna Cotler Books/Harper Collins, New York, NY
Cinderella sings and has a voice as flavorful as licorice in this original variation of the traditional favorite. Instead of Prince Charming, there’s Prince Music. The evil stepmother is Crooked Foster Mother, and instead of a ball, there’s the Great Gospel Convention! While there’s no glass slipper to leave behind at the convention, there is an enchanted melody for the prince to search for… and to find. Ponca City native Joyce Carol Thomas received the Center’s Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. She is also an Oklahoma Book Award winner for her book of lullabies, Hush Songs.

No Dogs Allowed!Bill Wallace—Holiday House, New York, NY
After losing Dandy, her family’s beloved horse, Kristine decides that she will never get close to a pet again and go through that kind of heartbreak. So when her father gets her a new puppy, the wiggling yellow ball of fur is not a welcome surprise. In Bill Wallace’s latest novel, a girl learns to love, to lose, and to take a chance and open her heart again. Wallace’s books routinely appear on state and children’s choice award lists. He is the Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient for 2000. He lives in Chickasha, Oklahoma, with his wife and daughters.


Living in the Land of Death: The Choctaw Nation, 1830-1860Donna L. Akers—Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI
The “Land of Death” (the route taken by the souls of Choctaw people after death) was the name given to Indian Territory by the Choctaws who had made the journey from their Mississippi homelands. The people suffered a death rate of nearly 20% along the Trail of Tears. Their first few years in the new territory affirmed their name, as hundreds more died from disease, floods, and starvation. Living in the Land of Death depicts the story of Choctaw survival, and the evolution of the Choctaw people in their new environment. Akers is assistant professor of history at Purdue University and a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation.

A History of the Oklahoma Governor’s MansionBob Burke and Betty Crow—Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City, OK
This book succeeds as both a celebration of the 76-year-old Governor’s Mansion and a history of the first families who have called it home. Bob Burke has written more than fifty books on Oklahoma and Oklahomans. He was born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and now practices law in Oklahoma City. Betty Crow graduated from Oklahoma State University after growing up in Tulsa. As a member of the board of Guardians of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion, she undertook a massive project in 1997 to produce a series of scrapbooks to portray the history of this special house on 23rdstreet.

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Winner for Non-Fiction

Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody GuthrieEd Cray—W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY
Woody Guthrie, writer, singer, and political activist, is perhaps the single most important figure to have influenced the tradition of American folk music. His music honored and heartened the dispossessed and disgruntled in an America darkened by poverty. Ed Cray is the first biographer to have full access to the Woody Guthrie Archives. He has drawn from thousands of letters and interviewed more than seventy people close to Guthrie to uncover this portrait of a great Oklahoman and a great American. Cray is a professor of journalism at the University of Southern California.

The Oregon Trail: An American SagaDavid Dary—Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY
A major one-volume history of the Oregon Trail, the book covers the route from its earliest beginnings to the present. David Dary includes the romance, colorful stories, hardship, and joys of the pioneers who made up this historic migration. A native of Manhattan, Kansas, Dary has been a newsman and professor of journalism. He directed the School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma, where he recently retired. He has received numerous awards for his writing and the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement for his books on the West.

Oklahoma: A Rich Heritage—Odie B. Faulk and William Welge—American Historical Press, Sun Valley, CA
Odie B. Faulk and William Welge’s book brings the state’s history to life as Oklahoma prepares for its second century. More than 400 photographs, maps, and drawings that illuminate major events in the story of the 46th Star accompany the text. Faulk holds a Ph.D. in history from Texas Tech and has served as a history professor for more than 20 years. Welge earned his degrees from the University of Oklahoma and Central State University. He has been associated with the Oklahoma Historical Society since 1977, and has been director of research since 1990.

Washita: The U.S. Army and the Southern Cheyennes, 1867-1869Jerome A. Greene—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
On November 27, 1868, The U.S. Seventh Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked a Southern Cheyenne village along the Washita River in present-day Oklahoma. The subsequent U.S. victory signaled the end of the Cheyennes’ traditional way of life and resulted in the death of Black Kettle. Jerome Greene draws on newly available material to retell, in unprecedented depth, the story of this watershed event in American history. Author Greene is research historian for the National Park Service in Denver, Colorado.

Red Earth: Race and Agriculture in Oklahoma TerritoryBonnie Lynn-Sherow—University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Bonnie Lynn-Sherow describes how a thriving ecology was ultimately reduced by market agriculture. Drawing on a host of sources—oral histories, letters and journals, agricultural and census records—she examines the effects of racism, economics, and politics on prairie landscapes. In the process, the author explores the stories of “real people who won and lost in their gamble with the red earth.” Lynn-Sherow is assistant professor of history at Kansas State University.

Fine Art of the WestB. Byron Price—Abbeville Press, New York, NY
This comprehensive work celebrates the history and art of the specialized gear of the American West—the saddles, hats, boots, spurs, and other objects of the cowboy’s everyday life. B. Byron Price tells how these objects took form in the Old West, as a legacy of Spanish and Mexican craftsmen, and explains how they became the focus of innovative designers who created a new, vigorous tradition in decorative art. Price is director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art in the American West at the University of Oklahoma, and former director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Oklahoma Breeding Bird AtlasDan Reinking, Editor—Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
During the years 1997 to 2001, more than 100 volunteer birders and professional researchers surveyed nearly 600 locations across all regions of Oklahoma. The result is this landmark volume on the state’s bird species and their distributions. Illustrated with more than 200 color photos and 200 color maps, Oklahoma Breeding Bird Atlas serves both amateurs and ornithologists with its wealth of information. Dan Reinking is a biologist at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville. A birder since age twelve, he is president of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society.

Who’s Rocking the Cradle? Women Pioneers of Oklahoma Politics from Socialism to the KKK, 1900-1930Suzanne H. Schrems, Ph.D.—Horse Creek Publications, Norman, OK
Senator David Boren says Who’s Rocking the Cradle? is “a fascinating and long overdue examination of the critical role played by women in political movements in Oklahoma.” The work covers the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Indian Territory, the suffrage movement of the early 1900s, Alice Robertson’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives (as the first, and only, Oklahoma woman to hold this office), and a “secret sisterhood” of women who joined men as members of the Ku Klux Klan. Dr. Suzanne H. Schrems is an independent historian and author who lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Hogs on 66: Best Feed and Hangouts for Roadtrips on Route 66—Michael Wallis and Marian Clark—Council Oak Books, Tulsa, OK
Author and biker Michael Wallis is the expert on the history, legends, and lore of U.S. Route 66. Marian Clark is the expert on all things culinary related to the Mother Road. Hogs on 66 provides an assortment of yarns, practical advice, useful tips, and an array of colorful photographs to enhance the biker experience on America’s highway. As the promo line on the back cover states: “Route 66 and motorcycles go together like a sizzling burger and a slab of cheddar cheese.” Wallis is the Center’s 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. His book The Real Wild West won the Oklahoma Book Award in 2000.


Primer of the ObsoleteDiane Glancy—University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA
These experimental poems continue Diane Glancy’s exploration of the conjoined cultures of Indian and European, white and Cherokee, Christian and conjuring. Pick up a list of Oklahoma Book Award finalists for almost any year and you’ll find Glancy’s name. She has been honored as a finalist in the categories of poetry, fiction, and even book design. Her novel The Mask Maker received the 2003 Book Award for fiction.

The Vanishing PointCarol Hamilton—Main Street Rag Publishing Company, Charlotte, NC
Carol Hamilton is a writer, storyteller, and former elementary school teacher and university professor who lives in Midwest City. She was Poet Laureate of Oklahoma from 1995-1997, and has won numerous honors for her poetry and children’s books. She received the Oklahoma Book Award in 1992 for her poetry collection Once The Dust. Her latest collection of poetry, The Vanishing Point, celebrates art, artists, and the life of art.

On Hearing ThunderTerry Hauptman—North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., St. Cloud, MN
Epic in its breadth, Terry Hauptman’s collection warns of the coming storms—those close to home and of the thunder abroad: war, hunger, poverty and violence—and celebrates the creative muses that sustain us. She is the author of two previous poetry collections, Masquerading in Clover: Fantasy of the Leafy Fool and Rattle. Hauptman has lived and written poetry in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Ohio. Today, she lives in Minnesota and Vermont with her family.

Book Award logo indicating this year's winner
Winner for Poetry

Still DancingFrancine Leffler Ringold—Coman & Associates, Tulsa, OK
Francine Leffler Ringold is Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and a 2003 winner of the “Writers Who Make a Difference “ Award from The Writer Magazine. Her collection of poems, The Trouble With Voices, received the Oklahoma Book Award in 1996. Her name is also synonymous in the minds of many with Nimrod, the international literary journal she has edited and championed for almost 40 years. Still Dancing interweaves two dozen new poems with original poetry from four previous volumes.


Hogs on 66: Best Feed and Hangouts for Roadtrips on Route 66—Designed by Margaret Copeland and Jennifer Unruh—Council Oak Books, Tulsa
Margaret Copeland and Jennifer Unruh take all the ingredients supplied by writers Michael Wallis and Marian Clark, and add their own graphic arts creativity to serve up this delightful dish of a book. Turning the pages is like rounding the bend on old Route 66: the reader never knows what surprise may be waiting for him.

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Winner for Design/ Illustration

A History of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion—Designed by Carol Haralson—Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City, OK
Carol Haralson skillfully combines historic and present-day photos, graphics, and Bob Burke and Betty Crow’s narrative to help tell the story of Oklahoma’s main house. Haralson is a multiple winner in this category. A former Tulsan, she now makes her home in Sedona, Arizona.

Rabbit and the Bears and Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting—Drawings by Murv Jacob—University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM
With these two titles, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, artist Murv Jacob continues his collaboration with author Deborah Duvall on The Grandmother Stories, bringing traditional Cherokee tales to a new generation of children—and to children of all ages. His unique drawing style captured an Oklahoma Book Award in this category in 2003 for the first title in the Grandmother Stories series: The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals.

Oklahoma 24/7—Designed by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen—DK Publishing, New York, NY
Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen worked with 34 Oklahoma photographers to capture a week in the life of Oklahomans. The 557 images presented in Oklahoma 24/7, both expansive and intimate, add up to a panoramic glimpse of life-in-progress in the Sooner State.

Palacio De Gobierno: Capitol of Chihuahua—Design and Photography by Bill Williams—Government of the State of Chihuahua, and Graphic Arts Books, Portland, OR
A graduate of the University of Tulsa, Bill Williams was director of publications for the University of Oklahoma for 24 years. His photographs are featured in six Mexican guidebooks. His participation in this book as designer and photographer offers a look at an extraordinary building, the Chihuahua State Capitol. Williams travels worldwide, taking photographs and painting. He operates a photography and graphic arts studio in Norman, Oklahoma.


Hate CrimeWilliam Bernhardt—Ballentine Books, New York, NY
This is William Bernhardt’s 13th novel to feature popular Tulsa defense attorney Ben Kincaid. When frat boy Johnny Christensen is accused of killing a gay man outside a Chicago Bar, Christensen’s mother appeals to Kincaid to take the case. Kincaid declines for reasons that remain secret to his partner Christina McCall. When McCall decides to take the case, Kincaid finds himself drawn in against his will. Bernhardt, a two-time Oklahoma Book Award winner, is known as a master of the legal thriller.

Following the HarvestFred Harris—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
In this coming of age story, sixteen-year-old Will Haley leaves his hometown of Vernon, Oklahoma, to join his father’s wheat harvesting crew. As the crew moves north, Will battles field fires and deadly weather, makes an unexpected visit to a house of ill repute, takes a wild ride at a Frontier Days rodeo, and deals with his hard-drinking dad. Fred Harris is a former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma and a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico. Beginning at the age of twelve, Harris followed the wheat harvest himself for nine summers in a row, all the way from his Oklahoma hometown of Walters to Rhame, North Dakota.

Homer’s PlaceHarlan G. Koch—John M. Hardy Publishing, Houston, TX
This novel of Oklahoma during the Great Depression focuses on young Tom Cable and his father, Homer, who is haunted by the memory of a car wreck that took the life of his wife. Homer’s relationship with his son ranges from loving to demonic, fueled by Homer’s binge drinking. As the Cable family drama unfolds, readers are treated to a cast of characters who stayed and struggled together through the Dust Bowl years. Harlan G. Koch was raised in Waynoka, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of United States Military Academy at West Point, and served as an officer in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

Shoot the MoonBillie Letts—Warner Books, New York, NY
Two-time Oklahoma Book Award winner Billie Letts returns with this tale of a small Oklahoma town and the mystery that has haunted its residents for years. In 1972, the town of DeClare, Oklahoma, was consumed by the terrifying murder of Gaylene Harjo and the disappearance of her baby, Nicky Jack. Thirty years later, Nicky Jack returns, and his reappearance stuns the town and stirs up long-buried emotions and memories. Billie Letts’s second novel, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon, was the first selection in the statewide reading and discussion program Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma. She lives in Tulsa with her husband, Dennis.

Sweet Dreams at the Goodnight MotelCurtiss Ann Matlock—MIRA Books, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada
Heroine Claire Wilder has wasted too much time waiting for a man to return, and she knows life will pass her by if she doesn’t get moving again. So she quits her job, packs her bags, and ends up in her father’s hometown of Valentine, Oklahoma. Forces beyond her control keep her in the town longer than she planned, but she may just find what she’s looking for in this small hamlet. Curtiss Ann Matlock’s books have received rave reviews, been optioned for films, and have won numerous awards. She lives in Minco, Oklahoma.

Book Award logo indicating this year's winner
Winner for Fiction

Some Danger InvolvedWill Thomas—Simon and Schuster, New York, NY
Modeled after the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Will Thomas’s debut novel is set in the gritty streets of Victorian London. The work introduces detective Cyrus Barker and his apprentice Thomas Llewelyn, as they work to solve the gruesome murder of a young scholar. Thomas is a librarian for the Tulsa City-County Library System. He has done extensive research on the Victorian novel. His writings have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and other publications. He lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with his family.


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 state.

The mission of the Oklahoma Center for the Book is
to 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 1-800-522-8116 toll free, statewide; in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, call 522-3383.



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