Let’s Talk About It Oklahoma

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts

honk and holler opening soon by billie letts book cover

Honk and Holler returns Billie Letts’ readers to the mythical town of Sequoyah, Oklahoma, where Novalee Nation presumably still lives (or will live) after putting her life together in Where the Heart Is.  In this novel, the focus is on different characters whose lives intersect in 1985.  The immediate setting is a cafe, The Honk and Holler…

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Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe

shell shaker by leanne how book cover

Toward the end of Pushing the Bear, one character reflects that the women of the Cherokee, in their “behind-the-scenes” way, would probably assign the new lands and enforce the laws in the Territory.  The Choctaw, another tribe displaced from the Southeast, have a strong tradition of women participating in important decisions.  LeAnne Howe, an enrolled Choctaw,…

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Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

red dirt growing up okie by roxanne dunbar-ortiz book cover

One of the more interesting chapters in Red Dirt reflects on the kind of people who pushed their way to the frontier, those who stubbornly fought the elements and other humans to make a place for themselves.  These Scots-Irish, the author’s ancestors, were also among those who hung on, clinging to their marginal farms and…

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Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew

fire in beulah by rilla askew book cover

Rilla Askew began her first novel, The Mercy Seat, with a meditation on Oklahoma:  “It’s name first in English was Indian Territory, and then, for a short time, it was called two territories, Indian and Oklahoma–meaning both the same thing, a redundancy–and then, again, it is one.  The land book and held its Indian name, its…

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Pushing the Bear by Diane Glancy

In an author’s note, Diane Glancy tells of attending a performance of The Trail of Tears in Tahlequah in the late 1970s.  She later traveled along the route that thirteen thousand Cherokee followed in 1838 after being forced to abandon their farms in several Southeastern states.  These encounters with her father’s heritage set Glancy on an…

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Monster by Walter Dean Myers

walter dean myers monster book cover

Myers, like Cormier, has been acknowledged for the body of his many award-winning novels.  Sixteen year old Steve finds himself in jail on trial for a murder he is not sure he had anything to do with, or anything significantly to do with.  In spite of his middle class status, he is a black teenager…

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True Believer by Virginia Ewer Wolff

true believer book cover

Luminous Wolff pens her novel in lines of free verse that capture the flow of feelings and thoughts running across the psyche of fifteen year old LaVaughn, determined to go to college and grow beyond the socioeconomic class she struggles within.  A National Book Award winner, True Believer dramatizes the life of a strong student who…

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

the absolutely true diary of a part time indian by sherman alexie book cover

A National Book Award winner like Wolff, Alexie ranks as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation and a major force in the renaissance of Native American literature.  Like all of the writers in this series, he incarnates the reality that good young adult novels inevitably attract some groups who want to ban…

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Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

jamaica kincaid annie john book cover

Master storyteller in fiction and non-fiction acclaimed by virtually all, Kincaid finds her work marketed for adults and young adults, and actually probably more to the former than the latter – and her work thus truly crosses over those supposed borders between audience ages.  With Annie John, she tells the semiautobiographical tale of a young girl…

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Young Adult Crossover Fiction: Crumbling Borders between Adolescents and Adults

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Without any question, young adult fiction has represented on of the fastest growing and most interesting publishing fields for some time now – just ask book publishers and librarians.  In its relatively short history, an amazing variety of groundbreaking works have emerged.  The adults writing these novels focus on young adults grappling with the the…

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