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And the Medalists Are...

Oklahoma Center for the Book Honors Authors and Book Creators Who Call Oklahoma Home

Oklahoma boasts a rich, literary culture. Poetry readings, small presses and book clubs are just a few of the ways that Okies celebrate their love for the book. A state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Oklahoma Center for the Book focuses attention on the vital role of books and reading. The center also celebrates literature  through the Oklahoma Book Awards, presented each year in fiction, nonfiction, children/young adult, poetry, and design/ illustration categories for works written by an Oklahoman or about Oklahoma. This year, there is no shortage of talent. 

2022 Oklahoma Book Award Winners


Run, Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure
by Mariana Llanos
Barefoot Books

In the ancient Inka empire, Little Chaski—the Inka King’s newest royal messenger—has an important job. On his first day delivering messages, he stops to help several creatures in need, causing him to nearly miss his sunset deadline. However, the kindness he bestowed on these animals winds up helping him in surprising ways.

Young Adult

Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories
by Dan SaSuWeh Jones
Scholastic Press

A collection of ghost stories from eight regions of diverse Native American cultures in the United States, Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters features 32 stories divided into the categories of Ghosts, Witches, Monsters, Spirits and the Supernatural. The stories are told by members of those Native Nations from those regions, while the author describes the stories and accounts of his experiences on his travels through The Native Regions of America.


Funny Fani’
designed by Corey Fetters and illustrated by Joshua (Lokosh) Hinson
White Dog Press

A fun and silly book about animals and friendship, young readers will learn animal facts and how some animals relate to Chickasaw history and culture. This children’s book was a team effort, a creative endeavor by the author, illustrator and book designer. This adventure story will engage children as they learn about Chickasaw words and culture.


Recovering Ancient Spiro: Native American Art, Ritual, and Cosmic Renewal
designed by Eric Singleton and Julie Allred
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

This book aims to fill a missing piece of history. Eric Singleton explains, “Many people in the United States are familiar with and interested in ancient cultures of Mexico and Peru such as the Aztec, Maya and Inca, yet may be unaware of the vibrant cultures and exceptional accomplishments of pre-Columbian peoples who occupied what is now the United States. Therefore, the goal of this book was to share the art, history and singular nature of one of the United States’ most important ancient sites—the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma—from its humble beginnings to its rise as one of the premier cultural and ceremonial centers in all of North America.”


Blood on the Mother Road
by Mary Coley
Moonglow Books

In Blood on the Mother Road—native Oklahoman Mary Coley’s eighth mystery-suspense novel—small-town journalist Claire Northcutt travels old Route 66 to Persimmon, Oklahoma, where she intends to research the Mother Road. Soon she senses a cover-up in the small town. She suspects Persimmon is plagued with toxic pollution, meth production, or both. Holt Braden, an undercover DEA agent and Claire’s boyfriend, has been assigned to protect Renee Trammel, who is in the Witness Protection Program to testify against a brutal Texas drug ring. Both Claire and Renee’s lives intersect when they provoke the wrath of criminals, intent on evil pursuits.


At War with Corruption: A Biography of Bill Price, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma
by Michael J. Hightower
2 Cities Press

The author explains, “At War with Corruption combines two narratives: (1) Bill Price’s career in the law, politics and philanthropy and (2) commercial and political corruption dating back to territorial days that has shaped Oklahoma history. With Bill’s encouragement, I presented this dual narrative not only as his biography combined with a comprehensive record of the state’s unsavory past, but also to offer plausible explanations and, ultimately, suggest what it takes to discourage corrupt practices and foster level playing fields in commerce and politics.”


Contour Feathers
by Ken Hada
Turning Plow Press

Written mostly during the pandemic, Ken Hada’s 10th poetry collection is timely. The book addresses multiple themes and life situations, reminding readers that there is good and beauty in the natural world. The poems grant entry into the poet’s world to inspire our own joy and appreciation of the wonders that are—wonders that reside both inside and outside of us. 

Lynn McIntosh Award for Excellence

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History
by Karlos K. Hill, designed by Barry Roseman and Anthony Roberts
University of Oklahoma Press

With a unique emphasis on rebuilding, this book of more than 175 photographs, along with oral testimonies, tells the story of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. For Karlos Hill, it was a priority to honor the survivors and descendants and to provide the reader with a “vantage point of victims and survivors.” The book does not end with death and destruction; rather, it tells a story of the grit and resilience to rebuild.