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2014 Oklahoma Book Award Winners


Writers, publishers, and reading enthusiasts across the state met at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on April 12 for the 25th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards.

Awards were given in the children/young adult; design, illustration, and photography; fiction; non-fiction; and poetry. Oklahoma educator, historian, poet, and storyteller Alvin. O. Turner received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

The evening would not have been possible without the generous support of the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Moreover, this year’s Shakespearean sponsors were Dunlap Codding, P.C. and the University of Oklahoma Press. The Hemingway sponsor was The Oklahoma Heritage Association.

The event is sponsored each year by the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The awards recognize books written the previous year by Oklahomans or about Oklahoma.

photograph of winners
[left to right] Clynell Reinschmiedt (poetry), Mary Jane Warde (non-fiction), Nancy Goodwin (poetry), Tammi Sauer (children), Carol Waters (poetry), Alvin Turner (lifetime achievement), Tim Tharp (young adult), Catherine McCraw (poetry), Yvonne Carpenter (poetry), Jeannie Barbour (illustration).

book coverNon-Fiction

When the Wolf Came: The Civil War and the Indian Territory—Mary Jane Warde—University of Arkansas Press

Warde explores how the Civil War in the Indian Territory involved almost every resident; resulted in the death of both civilians and soldiers; left the country stripped and devastated; set off a wave of migration into neighboring states; and cost Indian nations millions of acres of land. Warde also shows how post-war land cessions—forced by the federal government on Indian nations formerly allied with the Confederacy—allowed the removal of still more tribes to the Indian Territory, leaving millions of acres open for homesteads, railroads, and development in at least ten states. Warde is the author of Washita and George Washington Grayson and the Creek Nation. She lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

book coverPoetry

Red Dirt Roads—Yvonne Carpenter, Nancy Goodwin, Catherine McCraw, Clynell Reinschmiedt, and Carol Waters—Haystack Press

Five different voices have created a collection of poems that work as a cohesive whole to form a portrait of life in our state’s western counties. The authors address the serendipitous nature of their creation in the book’s preface: “After many months of meeting at the Cherokee Truck Stop in Clinton, our poetry group discovered that our poems were speaking to each other about the extraordinarily rich life of Western Oklahoma where farmers, professors, artists, lawyers, cattle breeders, ballet masters—all sorts of strong-minded folks—flourish.”

Children/Young Adult

book coverYoung Adult Winner 

MOJO—Tim Tharp—Alfred A. Knopf

All Dylan wants is mojo; the ability to command respect. When Dylan hears about a missing rich girl from the other side of town, he jumps at the chance to dive into this mystery. Surely if he cracks the case, he’ll get not only a hefty cash reward, but the mojo he’s looking for. Tharp’s novels have received a host of accolades. Falling Dark won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize; Knights of the Hill Country was an Oklahoma Book Award winner and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. The Spectacular Now was a National Book Award Finalist and is now a major motion picture. The Henryetta native teaches at Rose State in Midwest City.

book coverChildren 

Nugget & Fang—Tammi Sauer—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Nugget is a little minnow and Fang is a great big shark. And they’re the best of friends. But wait! Everyone knows sharks eat minnows! Convinced by his teacher and fellow minnows that he should no longer hang out with Fang, Nugget says goodbye to his big friend. Now it’s Fang’s turn to do some convincing, and prove to Nugget that he is a good and true friend. Sauer is a two-time Oklahoma Book Award winner for Chicken Dance and Mostly Monsterly. She was a teacher and library media specialist before she sank her teeth into writing. She lives in Edmond with her family.


book coverDesign Winner 

Devon—designed by Jenny Chan and Lisa Yelon with Jack Design, photography by Alan Karchmer and Joe C. Aker—The Images Publishing Group

book coverDevon’s design and photography reflect the style and impressiveness of the book’s subject—the 50–story, 1.9 million square foot Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City. The book appears as finely designed as the Center itself. Layout, graphic elements, and illustrations contribute generously to the narrative flow of the story of a building from conception to completion. Graphic designers Chan and Yelon work at Jack Design Studios in Connecticut. Karchmer is an architectural photographer in Washington, D.C., while photographer Aker calls Houston, Texas home.

Illustration Winner

Chikasha Stories Volume Three: Shared Wisdom—illustrated by Jeannie Barbour—Chickasaw Press

Volume Three of this series reveals a delightful integration of illustration and text to present these stories in both the English and Chickasaw languages. Readers are given a sense of the natural art media Barbour used to create her illustrations as she brings the characters to life. Barbour is a Chickasaw historian, artist, and author. Her award-winning illustrations and writings have been featured in art exhibitions, publications, and books throughout the United States.

book coverFiction

Che Guevara’s Marijuana and Baseball Savings and Loan—Jack Shakely—Xlibris

In 1963, volunteer Jack Harjo sits in the jungles of Costa Rica pondering three questions: 1) is there a greater good; 2) does it apply here; and 3) can you really trademark Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, and Maui Wowie? The author takes the reader on an adventure exploring sex, drugs, revolution, and the dawn of the Peace Corps. Shakely is the award-winning author of The Confederate War Bonnet and POWs at Chigger Lake. A native Oklahoman, he now resides in California. He is president-emeritus of the California Community Foundation, and a former chair of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission.





To see complete list of 2014 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists go here.


The Oklahoma Center for the Book, sponsor of the Oklahoma Book Award competition, is 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. Additional sponsorship of the awards program is through the Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, a nonprofit 501-c-3 organization.

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 further information about the Oklahoma Center for the Book or the Oklahoma Book Award program, contact Connie Armstrong, 200 NE 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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