Book Lovers, Proud Oklahomans Unite for Annual Awards

Book Lovers Annual Awards

Rennard Strickland

Rennard Strickland

Book Lovers, Proud Oklahomans Unite for Annual Awards

By Charles Clark

It’s time to open a new chapter on the Oklahoma Book Awards – the second quarter of a century of recognizing the best and brightest of the written word related this great state.

On April 11, 2015, the Oklahoma Center for the Book’s 26th Annual Celebration of Oklahoma Books and Authors Oklahoma Book Awards will be held. The public is invited, of course, to hob-nob with authors, both award-winning and novice hopefuls, from many different genres. There will be publishers and book store representatives, librarians, book cover artists, and unapologetic book lovers making lists for new summer reading.

The books, all published and released in 2014, are about Oklahoma, or the author currently or has resided within the state’s borders. That’s what makes the uniqueness of the event.

Saturday’s banquet and presentations will be held at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, 4040 N Lincoln Boulevard, located near the State Capital in Oklahoma City. Arrive early, not only for the cash bar, but to visit the extensive book tables. Award-nominees will be set up for book purchases and signings starting at 6:30 p.m. The dinner begins at 7:30 p.m.

While winners will be named in five different book categories, a prestigious honor is given each year to one individual. This year, author and historian Rennard Strickland will be recognized with the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Strickland has written or edited more than 35 books about Native American history and culture, including serving as editor-in-chief of The Handbook of Federal Indian Law, often cited as the “Bible of Indian law.” Strickland has many ties to Oklahoma. Of Osage and Cherokee heritage, he grew up in Muskogee, earned his B.A. at Northeastern State University, taught at the University of Tulsa (where he also served as acting dean for one year), and from 1990 to1995, was the director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy and a professor at the University of Oklahoma.

This may be a good time to consider joining the Oklahoma Center for the Book, as membership allows one ticket at the discounted price of $50. Regular admission is $60. Tables may also be reserved for groups. For reservations and information, contact the Oklahoma Center for the Book at 800-522-8116 toll free; or call (405) 522-3383.

2015 Oklahoma Book Award Finalists

Winners will be named at Saturday evening’s event.

Children/Young Adult:

  • Some Assembly Required—Arin Andrews—Simon & Schuster
  • C is for Chickasaw—Wiley Barnes—Chickasaw Press
  • The Black Sentry—William Bernhardt—Babylon Books
  • Finders Keepers—Roy Deering—RoadRunner Press
  • Rethinking Normal—Katie Rain Hill—Simon & Schuster
  • George Ferris: What a Wheel—Barbara Lowell—Penguin
  • Chukfi Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale—Greg Rodgers—Cinco Puntos Press


  • Chikasha: The Chickasaw Collection at the National Museum of the American Indian—photography by Matt Bradbury and Mike McKee, and book design by Corey Fetters—Chickasaw Press
  • Capturing the Spirit in Bronze: The Journey and Sculptures of Rosalind Cook—book design by Patricia Ridge Bradley—Rosalind Cook Studio
  • Art of the Oklahoma Judicial Center—book design and photography by Neil Chapman—Supreme Court of Oklahoma
  • Extraordinary Jane—illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison—Penguin
  • C is for Chickasaw—illustrated by Aaron Long—Chickasaw Press
  • A Legacy in Arms—book design by Julie Rushing and jacket design by Anthony Roberts—University of Oklahoma Press
  • The Early Chickasaw Homeland—cover and book design by Aaron Long—Chickasaw Press
  • Chukfi Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale—illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener—Cinco Puntos Press


  • Popsicle Styx—John T. Biggs—Pen-L Publishing
  • Hell with the Lid Blown Off—Donis Casey—Poisoned Pen Press
  • Jingo Street—Sharon Ervin—Oak Tree Press
  • Her Innocent War—Betty C. Hatcher—Frugal Press
  • Sinking Suspicions—Sara Sue Hoklotubbe—University of Arizona Press
  • The Hatmaker’s Heart—Carla Stewart—Faith Words Press
  • House of Purple Cedar—Tim Tingle—Cinco Puntos Press
  • Fatal Enquiry—Will Thomas—Minotaur Books


  • The Nicest Nazi: Childhood Memories of World War II—Christiane Brandt Faris—Ionic Press
  • Black Cat 2-1: The True Story of a Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and His Crew—Bob Ford—Brown Books Publishing Group
  • Oklahoma’s Most Notorious Cases—Kent Frates—RoadRunner Press
  • Port Robertson: Behind the Scenes of Sooner Sports—Edgar L. Frost—Oklahoma Heritage Association
  • Chikasha: The Chickasaw Collection at the National Museum of the American Indian—Joshua Hinson—Chickasaw Press
  • Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery—Susan Croce Kelly—University of Oklahoma Press
  • Piavinnia: The Bent-Guerrier Connection—Jo Ann Kessel—Oklahoma Heritage Association
  • A Step Toward Brown v. Board of Education: Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher and her Fight to End Segregation—Cheryl Elizabeth Brown Wattley—University of Oklahoma Press


  • Oklahoma Poems…And Their Poets—edited by Nathan Brown—Mezcalita Press
  • Words of Rain—James Coburn—BlaqRayn Publishing
  • Deep August—Jessica Isaacs—Village Books Press
  • The Walmart Republic—Quraysh Ali Lansana and Christopher Stewart—Mongrel Empire Press
  • Its Day Being Gone—Rose McLarney—Penguin
  • Re-Writing Family History—Linda Neal Reising—Finishing Line Press



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