2020 Oklahoma Book Awards

Children/Young Adult

A Pirates Life for She: Swashbuckling Women Through the Ages  
Laura Sook Duncombe
Chicago Review Press

Pirates are an enduringly popular subject. When we think of pirates, do adventurous females come to mind?  Rarely are these historic figures part of the conversation. What do you really know about women pirates? Who were they? Why did they go to sea? What were their lives really like? Duncombe provides a fascinating look at sixteen female buccaneers, who sailed alongside—and sometimes in command of—their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life, but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. Duncombe is an author, lawyer, and feminist who enjoys Star Wars, Broadway, and Sherlock Holmes, when she is not out pirating. She and her family reside in Tulsa.

A Pirates Life for She: Swashbuckling Women Through the Ages

Kate Hannigan
Simon & Schuster

Josie O’Maley decides that if she cannot fight in World War II like her dad, or be like her beloved superheroes who have mysteriously disappeared, she will use her own skills to help in the war effort: puzzling and coding. When she is rejected from a puzzling tryout because she is a girl, Josie is swept into a secretive program along with two new friends, Akiko and Mae. These three share a love of female superheroes, and one afternoon the three are suddenly transformed into the newest caped crusaders. This awesome trio must now use their superpowers to thwart a shape-shifting henchman of Hitler, crack the code on a top secret project that hits too close to home, and bring back the missing superheroes once and for all. Award-winning author Hannigan grew up in Oklahoma and writes young adult fiction and non-fiction. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.


Bear is Awake!
Hannah E. Harrison
Penguin Random House

For months, Bear has slumbered away in hibernation. Now Bear is awake and decides to take a walk outside. Bear stumbles onto a cabin, rings the doorbell, and finds a very surprised girl, who becomes a new friend. Together they embark on an exciting journey through the alphabet. They discover how each letter begins a word, and words describe all sorts of things including emotions. For example, Bear loves to eat, and the letter “F” is the first letter in “food!” Harrison is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. Her book Extraordinary Jane won the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award for illustration.  She won the 2019 Oklahoma Book Award for both children’s book and illustration for Friends Stick Together. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Ada, Oklahoma.

Bear-is-Awake by Hannah Harrison

Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection
Tom Lyle 
White Dog Press

Over twenty years ago, the first Chickasaw Adventures comic books were released as part of an effort to educate Chickasaw citizens and the general public about the tribe’s history and culture. Between 2004 and 2005, seven issues of Chickasaw Adventures were made available to readers of all ages. Chickasaw Adventures: The Complete Collection, a compendium graphic novel, features issues one through seven, as well as never-before-seen issues eight through twelve that wrap up the time-traveling series. The late Tom Lyle, best known for his work in both Marvel and DC comic books, brings theChickasaw Nation’s history to life through his illustration.  Chickasaw language is used throughout the comics to encourage language learning, as readers are introduced to Johnny, a Chickasaw teen with the power to travel back in time to various points in Chickasaw history.

Chickasaw Adventures

A Little Chicken
Tammi Sauer 
Sterling Publishing Company

Dot is a little chicken who is scared of a lot of things including wolves, bears, and the occasional lawn ornament. But when one of her mother’s eggs accidentally rolls out of the coop, this nervous chick must pluck up her courage and save the day—and her soon-to-be sibling! This delightful book is perfect for any child who needs a little encouragement to face the challenging world. Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is the author of many children’s picture books. She won the Oklahoma Book Award for children in 2010 for Chicken Dance; in 2011 for Mostly Monsterly; and in 2014 for Nugget & Fang. She lives with her family in Edmond.


Nugget & Fang Go To School
Tammi Sauer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, are unlikely best friends who live deep in the ocean. One day Fang’s friends invite him to enroll at Mini Minnows Elementary School with them. Fang thinks this is a great idea, and he is excited to attend. However, when the first day of school arrives he is definitely having second thoughts. Fang realizes he is not very good at reading or math. He does not exactly fit in with his classmates, and the teacher looks crabby! Can Nugget and the other minnows turn things around and prove to Fang that school really is awesome? This year is not the first time award-winning and prolific author Sauer has competed against herself in the children’s category. She lives with her family in Edmond when she is not traveling the country presenting in schools and libraries.

Nugget and Fang go to school