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2006 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists

Oklahoma Book Award

Children/Young Adults

ClabbernappersLen Bailey—Tor/Starscape, New York, NY
Chess, pirates, royalty and a confident young cowboy come together in this unusual fantasy, Bailey’s first book. Eleven-year-old Danny Ray (“…the best rodeo cowboy in Oklahoma—Junior Division of course!”) finds himself transported from the Cherokee County Fair to the checkered land of Elidor, where the royal citizens are in need of a hero. Can Danny rescue the kidnapped queen from the Sarksa pirates in time to save the Great Chess Game? Bailey graduated from Tahlequah High School and Trinity College in Illinois. He and his family live in the Chicago suburbs.

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Winner for Young Adult

AssassinAnna Myers—Walker & Company, New York, NY
“I am not evil. I tell this story so that you might understand and perhaps so that I might see more clearly.” Thus begins Anna Myers’ latest work of historical fiction. It is the story of Bella, a seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln, who comes under the influence of charismatic actor John Wilkes Booth, the man who will become infamous for killing a president. Myers has won two Oklahoma Book Awards, and her book Tulsa Burning was selected as one of New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age. The author lived many years in Chandler, but now calls Tulsa home.

Cowboy CampTammi Sauer—Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, NY
In this delightful picture book, young Avery wants to be a cowboy more than anything, but he just doesn’t fit the mold. His belt buckle is too small, his hat is too big, his shoes are too red, he hates grits and beans, he’s allergic to horses, and “whoever heard of a cowboy named Avery?” Will he make the grade? Sauer spent the first eighteen years of her life in Victoria, Kansas, population 1,208. Today she lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her family.

Dancing with ElvisLynda Stephenson—Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, MI
It’s 1956, and ever since she and her mother rescued Angel Musseldorf from her abusive parents, Frankilee Baxter has been miserable. In addition to being more pretty, popular, and talented than Frankilee, Angel moves in, steals Frankilee’s clothing, and begins dating the boy Frankilee likes. At the same time, Frankilee’s community is struggling with the issue of school integration. What keeps our young heroine going is her fantasy about Elvis Presley rescuing her from life in Clover, Texas. Booklist calls Stephenson’s ambitious first book a debut that “won’t easily be forgotten.” The author lives in Edmond with her husband and a cat named Elvis.

Czar of Alaska: The Cross of CharlemagneRichard Trout—Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, LA
International bestselling author Clive Cussler says Trout writes tales for young people the way they “should be written.” In this fourth installment of the MacGregor Family Adventure Series, Drs. Jack and Mavis MacGregor and their three children head to Alaska where they encounter an unusual new threat from eco-terrorists, common anarchists, a rogue Vatican priest, and a corrupt Polish archaeologist. Trout is an environmental biologist, consultant, and professor at Oklahoma City Community College. He and his wife have two grown daughters.

Pick of the LitterBill Wallace—Holiday House, New York, NY
Wallace is the beloved author of many books for young readers, and is known far and wide for his middle-grade fiction. He is a two-time winner of the Texas Bluebonnet Award and the recipient of the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The author’s latest work is an honest and touching boy-and-dog story, where young Tom learns firsthand about honor, friendship and puppy love. Wallace and his family live in Chickasha.


Suffer the Little VoicesNathan Brown—Greystone Press, Edmond, OK
In this stark, honest and challenging work, Brown tells spiritual truths as he sees them—truths that have often been arrived at painfully. As the poet invites readers to accompany him on this exploration of faith and religion, he employs styles that range from conversational to almost biblical, demonstrating he is comfortable and masterful writing in a variety of voices. Nathan Brown is a musician, entertainer, recording artist, minister, teacher, father and poet philosopher who lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Winner for Poetry

Evidence of RedLeAnne Howe—Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK
Howe’s collection of poetry and prose is personal and multi-layered. It breaks out of the traditional Native American mold to create a new paradigm. Unique imagery, the counterpoint between the historically poignant with the cultural iconography of the present, and the unexpected humor that pops up, add up to a thoroughly original work. Howe, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was raised in Oklahoma City. She is a fiction writer, playwright, journalist, scholar and poet. Her novel Shell Shaker was a finalist for the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award.

Everything That Is–Is ConnectedJudith Tate O’Brien—Village Books Press, Cheyenne, OK
O’Brien’s most recent collection of poetry exposes the illusory borders that mask true connections, revealing “a world without the boundaries that separate people from one another, from the natural world, from the past, and from the future, a world that could be described as a divine milieu.” This is Judith Tate O’Brien’s third book to be named an Oklahoma Book Award finalist. Her poetry has been widely published and has won several prizes and a Pushcart Prize Nomination. She has been a teacher, a nun and a family therapist. O’Brien is also a stroke survivor. She lives in Oklahoma City with Gene, her husband of twenty-six years.


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Winner for Non-Fiction

The Worst Hard TimeTimothy Egan—Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY
The dust storms that terrorized the high plains of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado and other states in the darkest days of the Great Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan follows a half-dozen families through the rise and fall of the region, producing a story Walter Cronkite describes as “can’t-put-it-down history.” Egan has written four books and has received several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Wanderers Between Two Worlds: German Rebels in the American West, 1830–1860
Douglas Hale—Xlibris, Philadelphia, PA
This is the true story of seven young men who launched an abortive revolution in 1833 Germany in an attempt to bring unity and freedom to their country. Bungling the revolt, the rebels find themselves branded as traitors and hunted as criminals. Fleeing to the new world, the youths embrace the challenges of the American frontier in Illinois, Missouri and Texas, while carving out careers of distinction. Historian Douglas Hale is professor emeritus at Oklahoma State University. This is his third book. He and his wife, sculptor Lou Moore Hale, live in Stillwater.

The University of Oklahoma: A History, Volume I, 1890–1917
David W. Levy—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
This is the first in a projected three-volume definitive history of the University of Oklahoma. Levy examines the people and events surrounding the school’s formation and development, chronicling the determined ambition of pioneers to transform an apparently barren landscape into a place where a worthy institution of higher education could thrive. Levy is Irene and Julian J. Rothbaum Professor of Modern American History and David Ross Boyd Professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Hidden Treasures of the American West: Muriel H. Wright, Angie Debo and Alice Marriott
Patricia Loughlin—University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM
In the 1930s and 1940s, three Oklahoma women produced some of the most important writings about Oklahoma, American Indians, and the American West. But Wright, Debo and Marriott never received the attention that has been enjoyed by other public historians who studied and wrote on the same topics. Loughlin, assistant professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, pulls the curtain back to reveal the lives of these women, their establishment of new methodologies, and their significant texts that have contributed greatly to the historiography of Oklahoma and the nation.

Palace on the Prairie: The Marland Family StoryC.D. Northcutt, William C. Ziegenhain, and Bob Burke
Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City, OK
The story of the E. W. Marland family of Ponca City is one of the most intriguing sagas in Oklahoma history. It is the story of big oil, great wealth, politics, and generous philanthropy. It is also the story of a great love, a mysterious disappearance, and the building of an incredible mansion home. Northcutt was Lydie Marland’s legal advisor and friend; Ziegenhain has done major research on the Marland family history; and Burke, 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, has written and co-written more than sixty books about Oklahoma and its people.

On the Wild Edge: In Search of a Natural LifeDavid Petersen—Henry Holt and Co., New York, NY
Petersen reflects on his twenty-five years of life in the Colorado wilderness. In the past we listened to Henry David Thoreau or Aldo Leopold: today it is Petersen’s turn. His observations are lyrical, scientific, and from the heart. Petersen was born and raised in Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma. He was a pilot in the U.S. Marines, the managing editor of a national motorcycle magazine, a two-time college graduate, a mailman, a beach bum, and the western editor of Mother Earth News. On the Wild Edge is his “lucky thirteenth” book.

The Chuck Wagon CookbookB. Byron Price—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
Price offers a fascinating history of ranch and range cooking, tracing its evolution from nineteenth-century ranchers to today’s working cowboys. Chock full of recipes to try at home, the book is also enhanced by folklore, abundant photographs, and letters from cowboys in order to do full justice to the rich and vital legacy of Western cooking. Price is director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of the American West at the University of Oklahoma, and former director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War
Anthony Shadid—Henry Holt and Co., New York, NY
Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid received the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Iraq. Fluent in Arabic, a veteran observer of the Middle East, he hoped to explain the complexities of post–9/11 Arab identity and to tell the human story of the American invasion’s impact on Iraqi lives. Night Draws Near reveals the hidden faces of a nation and a conflict that will resonate around the world for generations to come. An Arab-American of Lebanese descent, Shadid was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and now lives in Washington and Baghdad.

The Oklahoma Aviation StoryKeith Tolman, Kim Jones, Carl Gregory, and Bill Moore
Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma City, OK
The adventure of flight in Oklahoma is told from its simple beginnings of the balloon era through the golden age into military and the jet age. The names, the dates and the places are all here in one book for the very first time. All of the authors have a fascination with Sooner State aviation: Tolman has written extensively about Oklahoma aerospace history; Jones is curator of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum; Gregory has written a book on Tulsa aviation history; and Moore has written articles on Oklahoma aviation and has produced two aviation documentaries for OETA.

Design and Illustration

Images of History: The Oklahoman Collection
Design by Jim Argo, Bob Blackburn, and Scott Horton—Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, OK
Since 1903, the Oklahoma Publishing Company has documented events in the state, one day at a time, in words and images. This book celebrates the photographic images of The Oklahoman and companion newspapers during the past century. Together, the images reveal the progress of a state and its people. Blackburn is executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Argo retired as The Oklahoman photo editor in 2003. Horton is creative director of NewsOK.com. Argo and Horton received the Oklahoma Book Award for design in 2004 for Family Album: A Centennial Pictorial of the Oklahoma Publishing Company.

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

Mother, Mother, I Want Another—Illustrated by Jon Goodell—Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY
Critically acclaimed artist Jon Goodell illustrates this new edition of Maria Polushkin Robbins’s delightful comedy of errors. When Mother Mouse tucks Baby Mouse into bed, she gives her baby a kiss. “I want another, Mother,” Baby Mouse says. And so Mother Mouse is on the hunt for another Mother to help put Baby to bed! Goodell earned a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma and finds illustrating books for young readers the most rewarding work he can imagine. He lives in Norman with his family and cooks in his spare time.

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Winner for Design

Home: Native People in the Southwest—Designed by Carol Haralson—Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Miami, Oklahoma, native Carol Haralson designed this book as a companion to an exhibit at the Heard Museum. The exhibit explored artistic expressions of Native Peoples on the meanings of home. Haralson worked professionally in Oklahoma for many years and continues to work with Oklahoma institutions and individuals on a variety of book design projects from her studio in Arizona. Her efforts have earned her more Oklahoma Book Award medals than any other OBA honoree.

The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma: Selected Works
Designed by John Hubbard—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
This beautifully illustrated catalogue highlights 101 works of art from the museum. Combining full-color reproductions with explanatory text, the catalogue presents significant examples of Asian, European, American, American Indian, and contemporary art from the museum’s permanent collection. The pages offer a tour of the museum’s exceptional paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and photographs. Book designer John Hubbard lives in Seattle.

Charles Faudree’s Country French Living—Photography by Jenifer Jordan,
book design by Charles Faudree and M.J. Van Deventer—Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, UT
One of America’s top one hundred designers, Tulsa’s Charles Faudree is recognized as a master of the Country French style. Interior photographer Jennifer Jordan beautifully captures the essence of Faudree’s design sensibility. Faudree and M.J. Van Deventer grew up together in Muskogee, and have collaborated on writing and designing a previous title, Charles Faudree’s French Country Signature. Van Deventer is editor of Persimmon Hill magazine, and current president of the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

A Western Legacy: The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Photography by Ed Muno, design by John Hubbard—The University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK
This volume commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the museum that sits on Oklahoma City’s Persimmon Hill, offering both an institutional history and a pictorial overview of its extensive holdings. Although western fine art has long been its primary focus, the museum today collects a broad array of materials that reflects the variety of peoples, cultures, and historical currents found in the West. The museum’s curator of art, Ed Muno, demonstrates his virtuoso ability behind the lens of a camera, and book designer John Hubbard of Seattle puts it all together.

I is for Idea: An Inventions Alphabet— Illustrated by Kandy Radzinski—Sleeping Bear Press, Chelsea, MI
This children’s book celebrates the men and women from around the world who made incredible contributions to everyday life through their inventions. Radzinski has illustrated children’s books, posters, greeting cards, and even a six-foot penguin (for Tulsa Zoo’s Penguins on Parade project). She is a two-time Oklahoma Book Award winner for her illustrations for The Twelve Cats of Christmas and S is for Sooner. The artist lives in Tulsa with two Scottie dogs, Miss Moe and Kirby, a son named Ian, and a husband named Mark.

Theodore—Paintings by Mike Wimmer—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, NY
This children’s introduction to Theodore Roosevelt is Wimmer’s second collaboration with former Governor Frank Keating. Their first work, Will Rogers, was awarded the 2003 Spur Award by the Western Writers Association of America. Wimmer’s illustrations for All the Places to Love received the 1995 Oklahoma Book Award, and his two collaborations with author Robert Burliegh have also received recognition—Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh won an Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, while Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth was named an ALA Notable Children‘s Book. Wimmer is a native of Muskogee. He lives with his family in Norman, Oklahoma.


Fields of GoldMarie Bostwick—Kensington Books, New York, NY
In 1922 Oklahoma, young Evangeline Glennon assumes her life in the agricultural community of Dillon will be as predictable and flat as the miles of wheat that stretch toward the horizon. But when a dashing young aviator lands in her family’s field, Eva’s life is changed forever. In addition to being an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, this debut novel has also been honored by Romantic Times Book Club magazine as a finalist for Best Historical Saga. Bostwick lives in Connecticut with her husband and three sons.

The Old Buzzard Had It ComingDonis Casey—Poisoned Pen Press, Scottsdale, AZ
Alafair Tucker, her husband Shaw, and their nine children live a busy and happy life on their farm in Oklahoma at the turn of the twentieth century. When her daughter becomes involved in the murder of the meanest man in Muskogee County, she vows to move heaven and earth to protect her child, and incidentally, find out who killed the old buzzard. Casey was born and raised in Tulsa, and worked many years as an academic librarian at the University of Oklahoma and Arizona State University. She and her husband live in Tempe, Arizona.

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Winner for Fiction

The Black Jack ConspiracyDavid Kent—Pocket Books, New York, NY
Kent’s novel Department Thirty was one of the best selling e-books of 2003. It was also the start of a series revolving around the mysterious Department Thirty, a secret agency that erases the identities of top-level criminals in exchange for the kind of information people would kill for. In this third installment, Department case officer Faith Kelly uncovers a vast conspiracy that has its roots in a notorious frontier massacre in Oklahoma Territory. David Kent is the pen name of Kent Anderson. Anderson grew up in Madill. He has three sons and lives in Oklahoma City.

The Hot KidElmore Leonard—William Morrow, New York, NY
Carl Webster, the hot kid of the marshals service, works out of the Tulsa Federal Courthouse during the 1930s, the period of America’s most notorious bank robbers. Carl wants to be America’s most famous lawman. Meanwhile, Jack Belmont wants to rob banks and become public enemy number one. The stage is set for the fortieth novel of Elmore Leonard’s incomparable career. He has been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. Leonard lives with his wife in Michigan.

Tales of the Wide-A-Wake CaféCurt Munson—Author-House, Bloomington, IN
Inspired by a photograph of waitresses taken during 1940, Munson has recreated the world of a small café on Route 66 during America’s coming of age. This is the story of Janice, Tina, Cynthia, Clara and the rest of the women of this greatest generation; the story of what they did and how they lived and loved when war changed everything in their lives. Munson, an award-winning writer and public speaker, served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He currently makes his home in Edmond, Oklahoma.

To Kingdom ComeWill Thomas—Touchstone, New York, NY
Victorian enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his young assistant Thomas Llewelyn, first introduced in the 2005 Oklahoma Book Award-winner Some Danger Involved, return in this new adventure. Barker and Llewelyn set out to infiltrate a secret cell of the Irish Republican Brotherhood known as the Invisibles, a cell that is bent on bringing London to its knees and ending the monarchy forever. Thomas’s writing has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and in publications of various Sherlock Holmes societies. He lives with his wife in Broken Arrow.


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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