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Oklahoma Book Awards

2010 Winners | 2009 | Past Winners 1996 -2008

Sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB) the Oklahoma Book Awards are given each year in fiction, non-fiction, children/young adult, poetry, and design/illustration categories for work written by an Oklahoman or about Oklahoma.

Along with the annual Book Awards, the Center honors an Oklahoman who has contributed to the state's literary heritage by giving the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is named for Norman historian Arrell Gibson, the Center's first president.

2010 Winners -April 2010

Children/Young Adult

Children Winner—Chicken Dance—Tammi Sauer—Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

Sauer puts forth a delightful story about Marge and Lola, two chickens on a mission. Their quest is to win the barnyard talent contest and two tickets to see Elvis Poultry in concert. Both Marge and Lola must choose a talent that will surpass the other barnyard animals entered in the competition. These are no ordinary animals as children are introduced to moon-jumping cows and water-surfing ducks. Sauer, who claims to have danced with a few chickens during her youth, resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Young Adult Winner—Night Fires—George Edward Stanley—Aladdin Imprint

In 1923 after the sudden death of his father, Woodrow Harper moves with his mother to Lawton, Oklahoma, to begin a new life. With the assistance of Senator Crawford, his next-door neighbor, Woodrow begins to move forward and develops a close relationship with the senator. However, he soon discovers that Lawton has many dark secrets and the senator is heavily involved in them. Woodrow must decide whether to fight for what his real father believed in, or remain quiet to the horrible events taking place. Stanley's story covers a painful truth in America's history. He lives in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Design and Illustration

Design Winner—Willard Stone—designed by Carol Haralson—University of Tulsa/Gilcrease Museum

With loving attention to detail, Harralson employs sophisticated layouts, provocative photo crops, and breathtaking double-page spreads to celebrate the work of Cherokee carver Willard Stone. The result is a work that transcends the traditional art book. This is the second title in the Artists of Gilcrease series. Oklahoma native Haralson serves as this series' editor, as well. She is a master book designer, with seven Oklahoma Book Awards to her credit.

Illustration Winner—Where to Sleep—Illustrations by Kandy Radzinski—Sleeping Bear Press

Radzinski's vibrant illustrations have been honored with four Oklahoma Book Awards, for The Twelve Cats of Christmas, S is for Sooner, What Cats Want for Christmas, and What Dogs Want for Christmas. In her latest children's book, also authored by her, a tired little kitten hunts for the perfect place to catch some Z's. The artist lives in Tulsa, with her husband Mark and son Ian, and two dogs, Kirby and Beanie.

Fiction - Confessions of a Former Rock Star—Kirk Bjornsgaard—4RV Publishing

Baby boomers will rejoice in the talented writing of Kirk Bjornsgaard as he tells the story of an Oklahoma small town girl finding her way to Rock Star fame. It's the sixties, the beginning of a new breed of Rock 'n' Roll, and music isn't the only thing that's changing. Sally Moore's life follows the ups and downs of fame and fortune as she jumps on board a fast moving musical and cultural journey. The late Kirk Bjornsgaard was Acquisitions Editor for the University of Oklahoma Press and a musician. He and his wife, Noma Krasney, made their home in Norman, Oklahoma.
photograph of book


Thomas Gilcrease—Randy Ramer, Carole Klein, Kimberly Roblin, Eric Singleton, Anne Morand, Gary Moore, and April Miller—University of Tulsa/Gilcrease Museum

The authors chronicle the life and legacy of Thomas Gilcrease. The book addresses Gilcrease's business and travel adventures as well as his family life. However, the book focuses primarily on his vision of developing a world class museum. His dream culminated in the creation of the Gilcrease Museum, home to some of the finest art work in the world. Moreover, the largest collection of art and artwork regarding the American West is housed at the museum. Ramer, Klein, Roblin, and Singleton work at the Gilcrease Museum. Morand works at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Moore works at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. Miller works at the Denver Botanical Gardens in Denver, Colorado.

Work is Love Made Visible: Poetry and Family Photographs—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish—West End Press

Influenced by cherished photographs and treasured memories, Mish's poetry captures the heart of a family and era. Her verses are true to the language of a time, place and people, yet add a poetic dimension to a quintessentially Plains family story. Mish is a native Oklahoman who returned home after twenty years to study for her PhD in American Literature and to grow tomatoes. She is a 2010 Western Heritage Award winner in literature for Work Is Love Made Visible.

2009- Winners and Finalists


Winner: Sweeping Up Glass: A Novel Carolyn Wall—Poisoned Pen Press

People of the Whale: A Novel Linda Hogan—W.W. Norton

Made in the U.S.A.Billie Letts—Grand Central Publishing

Trudy's Promise Marcia Preston—Mira Books

To Honor the Dead Joseph Shaw—University of New Mexico Press

The Black Hand: A Barker & Llewelyn Novel Will Thomas—Simon & Schuster

Children/Young Adults

Winner Spy!Anna Myers—Walker and Company

ChosenP.C. and Kristen Cast—St. Martin’s Press

On a Road in AfricaKim Doner—Tricycle Press

It Wasn't Much: True Tales of Ten Oklahoma Heroes Jana Hausburg—Forty-Sixth Star Press

The Trial of Standing BearFrank Keating—Oklahoma Heritage Association

The Spectacular Now Tim Tharp—Random House


Winner: Two Tables Over—Nathan Brown—Village Books Press

Lessons From An Oklahoma GirlhoodDorothy Alexander—Village Books Press

Antidotes & Home RemediesJim Chastain—Village Books Press

Shots onCarol Hamilton—Finishing Line Press

Rounding the Human Corners Linda Hogan—Coffee House Press


Winner: Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the WorldLinda Peavy and Ursula Smith—University of Oklahoma Press

Oklahoma: A History W. David Baird and Danney Goble—University of Oklahoma Press

A Letter to AmericaDavid Boren—University of Oklahoma Press

Only in Oklahoma—Gene Curtis—World Publishing Company

The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson Kevin J. Hayes—Oxford University Press

The Chouteaus: First Family of the Fur Trade Stan Hoig—University of New Mexico Press

Grappling with Demon Rum: The Cultural Struggle over Liquor in Early Oklahoma James E. Klein—University of Oklahoma Press

In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics Victoria F. Nourse—W.W. Norton

The Nez Perces in the Indian Territory: Nimiipuu SurvivalJ. Diane Pearson—University of Oklahoma Press

Hunting the American West: The Pursuit of Big Game for Life, Profit, and Sport from 1800-1900 Richard C. Rattenbury—Boone and Crockett Club

Design and Illustration

Winner: Placing Memory: A Photographic Exploration of Japanese American Internment (Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West) Todd Stewart—University of Oklahoma Press

Juxtapositions: Brunel Faris and the Visual Arts in Oklahoma City—Carl Brune—Full Circle Press

On a Road in AfricaKim Doner—Tricycle Press

Charles Faudree Interiors Debra McQuiston—Gibbs Smith

They Know Who They Are: Elders of the Chickasaw Nation Mike and Martha Larsen—Chickasaw Press

How We Lived: A Pictorial History of the Places Oklahomans Have Called Home Holley Mangham—Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency

What Dogs Want for Christmas (Holiday Series) Kandy Radzinski—Sleeping Bear Press

The Trial of Standing Bear Mike Wimmer—Oklahoma Heritage Association

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Past Winners Oklahoma Book Awards 1990 - 2008


  • 1990 Robert Love Taylor, The Lost Sister
  • 1991 Linda Hogan, Mean Spirit
  • 1992 Robert L. Duncan, The Serpent's Mark
  • 1993 Rilla Askew, Strange Business
  • 1994 Eve Sandstrom, Down Home Heifer Heist
  • 1995 William Bernhardt, Perfect Justice
  • 1996 Billie Letts, Where the Heart Is
  • 1997 Stewart O’Nan, The Names of the Dead
  • 1998 Rilla Askew, The Mercy Seat
  • 1999 Billie Letts, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon
  • 2000 William Bernhardt, Dark Justice
  • 2001 • Carolyn Hart, Sugarplum Dead
  • 2002 • Douglas Kelley,The Captain’s Wife
  • 2003 • Diane Glancy,The Mask Maker: A Novel
  • 2004 M.K. Preston, Song of the Bones
  • 2005Will Thomas, Some Danger Involved
  • 2006 David Kent, The Black Jack Conspiracy
  • 2007 Sheldon Russell, Dreams to Dust: A Tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush
  • 2008 Rilla Askew, Harpsong
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  • 1990 Leonard Leff, Hitchcock & Selznick
  • 1991 Carl Albert and Danney Goble, Little Giant
  • 1992 David Morgan, Robert England,and George Humphreys, Oklahoma Politics & Policies: Governing the Sooner State
  • 1993 Henry Bellmon and Pat Bellmon, The Life and Times of Henry Bellmon; and Daniel Boorstin, The Creators
  • 1994 J. Brent Clark, 3rd Down and Forever
  • 1995 Dennis McAuliffe Jr., The Deaths of Sybil Bolton
  • 1996 William Paul Winchester, A Very Small Farm
  • 1997 Annick Smith, Big Bluestem: A Journey Into the Tall Grass
  • 1998 John Hope Franklin and John Whittington Franklin, Editors; My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin
  • 1999 • Bob Burke, From Oklahoma to Eternity: The Life of Wiley Post and the Winnie Mae
  • 2000 • Michael Wallis, The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West
  • 2001 • David LaVere, Contrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian Territory
  • 2002 • Lydia L. Wyckoff, Editor, Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection
  • 2003 • Michael A. Mares, A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape
  • 2004 • Eric R. Pianka and Laurie J. Vitt, Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity
  • 2005Ed Cray, Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie
  • 2006Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time
  • 2007Charles Robert Goins and Danney Goble, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma, Fourth Edition
  • 2008Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr
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Children/Young Adult

  • 1990 Helen Roney Sattler, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Its Kin
  • 1991 Stan Hoig, A Capital for the Nation
  • 1992 Jess and Bonnie Speer, Hillback to Boggy
  • 1993 Anna Myers, Red Dirt Jessie
  • 1994 Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Cherokee Summer
  • 1995 Russell G. Davis and Brent Ashabranner, The Choctaw Code
  • 1996 Anna Myers, Graveyard Girl
  • 1997 Barbara Snow Gilbert, Stone Water
  • 1998 S. L. Rottman, Hero
  • 1999 • Barbara Snow Gilbert, Broken Chords
  • 2000 • Harold Keith, Brief Garland: Ponytails, Basketball, and Nothing But Net
  • 2001 • Joyce Carol Thomas,Hush Songs
  • 2002 Molly Levite Griffis,The Rachel Resistance
  • 2003 • Darleen Bailey Beard, The Babbs Switch Story
  • 2004 • ChildrenUna Belle Townsend, Grady’s in the Silo • Young AdultSharon Darrow, The Painters of Lexieville
  • 2005 • ChildrenJoyce Carol Thomas, The Gospel CinderellaYoung AdultMolly Levite Griffis, Simon Says
  • 2006 • Anna Myers, Assassin
  • 2007 • ChildrenTim Tingle, Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom
               Young AdultTim Tharp, Knights of the Hill Country
  • 2008 • ChildrenDevin Scillian, Pappy’s HandkerchiefYoung AdultP.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Marked: A House of Night Novel
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  • 1990 William Kistler, The Elizabeth Sequence
  • 1992 Carol Hamilton, Once the Dust
  • 1993 Jim Barnes, The Sawdust War
  • 1994 Carter Revard, An Eagle Nation
  • 1995 Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky
  • 1996 Francine Leffler Ringold-Johnson, The Trouble with Voices
  • 1997 Renata Treitel, translation of Rosita Copioli’s The Blazing Lights of the Sun
  • 1998 Betty Shipley, Somebody Say Amen
  • 1999 Mark Cox, Thirty-Seven Years from the Stone
  • 2000 N. Scott Momaday, In the Bear’s House
  • 2001 Carolyne Wright,Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire
  • 2002 Ivy Dempsey, The Scent of Water: New and Selected Poems
  • 2003 • Joy Harjo, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems
  • 2004 • Laura Apol, Crossing the Ladder of Sun
  • 2005 • Francine Leffler Ringold, Still Dancing
  • 2006 • LeAnne Howe, Evidence of Red
  • 2007 • Carl Sennhenn, Travels Through Enchanted Woods
  • 2008 • Sandra Soli, What Trees Know
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  • 1990 David E. Hunt, The Lithographs of Charles Banks Wilson
  • 1991 Carol Haralson, Cleora's Kitchens
  • 1992 Joe Williams, Woolaroc
  • 1993 DesignCarol Haralson, Will Rogers: Courtship and Correspondence
               IllustrationKandy Radzinski, The Twelve Cats of Christmas
  • 1994 Deloss McGraw, Fish Story
  • 1995 Mike Wimmer, All the Places to Love
  • 1996 Kim Doner, Green Snake Ceremony
  • 1997 Carol Haralson and Harvey Payne, Big Bluestem: A Journey into the Tall Grass
  • 1998 Carol Haralson, Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art
  • 1999 David Fitzgerald, Bison: Monarch of the Plains
  • 2000 Carol Haralson, Glory Days of Summer: The History of Baseball in Oklahoma
  • 2001 • Lane Smith, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
  • 2002 • Carl Brune, Woven Worlds: Basketry from the Clark Field Collection
  • 2003 • Murv Jacob, The Great Ball Game of the Birds and Animals
  • 2004 • DesignScott Horton and Jim Argo, Family Album: A Centennial Pictorial of the Oklahoma Publishing Company
               IllustrationKandy Radzinski, S is for Sooner
  • 2005 • Carol Haralson, A History of the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion
  • 2006 • DesignCarol Haralson, Home: Native People in the Southwest
               IllustrationJon Goodell, Mother, Mother, I Want Another
  • 2007 • DesignCarl Brune, OKC: Second Time Around
               IllustrationJeanne Rorex Bridges, Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom
  • 2008 • Carl Brune, Oklahoma: A Portrait of America
               IllustrationKandy Radzinski, What Cats Want for Christmas

Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award

  • 1990 Daniel Boorstin—Librarian of Congress Emeritus—native of Tulsa
  • 1991 Tony Hillerman—award winning mystery writer—native of Sacred Heart
  • 1992 Savoie Lottinville—Director of the University of Oklahoma Press for 30 years
  • 1993 Harold Keith—Newbery Award winning children's author—Norman
  • 1994 N. Scott Momaday—Pulitzer Prize winning Kiowa author—native of Lawton
  • 1995 R.A. Lafferty—Hugo Award winning author—Tulsa
  • 1996 John Hope Franklin—historian—native of Rentiesville
  • 1997 S.E. Hinton—author of young adult novels—Tulsa
  • 1998 Jack Bickham—novelist, teacher and journalist—Norman
  • 1999 Michael Wallis—historian and biographer—Tulsa
  • 2000 Bill Wallace—writer of novels for young people—Chickasha
  • 2001 • Joyce Carol Thomas—children and adult fiction author, and playwright—native of Ponca City
  • 2002 • World Literature Today—The University of Oklahoma, Norman
  • 2003 • Joy Harjo—poet and member of the Muscogee Nation—native of Tulsa
  • 2004 • Carolyn Hart—award-winning mystery writer—Oklahoma City
  • 2005 • C.J. Cherryh—Hugo Award winning author—Oklahoma City
  • 2006 • Bob Burke—award-winning historian—Oklahoma City
  • 2007 • Clifton Taulbert—award-winning author—Tulsa
  • 2008 • David Dary—award-winning author—Norman
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Ralph Ellison Award

  • 1995 Ralph Ellison—National Book Award winner—Oklahoma City
  • 1997 Angie Debo—“First Lady of Oklahoma History”—Marshall
  • 1999 Melvin Tolson—poet, journalist, and dramatist—Langston
  • 2000 Jim Thompson—novelist and screenwriter—Anadarko
  • 2002 • John Berryman—poet, biographer, and editor—McAlester
  • 2004 • Lynn Riggs—playwright and screenwriter—Claremore
  • 2005 • Woody Guthrie—author, illustrator, and songwriter—Okemah
  • 2006 • John Joseph Mathews—Osage novelist and historian—Pawhuska
  • 2007 • Muriel Wright—acclaimed Oklahoma historian—Oklahoma City
  • 2008 • Danney Glenn Goble—acclaimed Oklahoma historian—Oklahoma City


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