The Donna Norvell Oklahoma Book Award
The Donna Norvell Book Award was established in 2005 by the Oklahoma Library Association and has been given annually since 2006. The Donna Norvell Book Award honors a book that has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children through third grade. These works are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize and interpret material for children. This award is a librarian’s choice award and is selected by the librarians who are members of the Oklahoma Library Association’s Sequoyah Book Award Committee.
The award is named for Donna Norvell, Children’s Consultant for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries from 1992-2004, who passed away in 2004. This award honors Donna’s contributions to the development of the library profession in Oklahoma. She was known throughout the state and respected for her expertise and intelligence regarding children’s development, literature, services, and libraries.
The medal was designed by Oklahoma artist and author Kim Doner.
Book Award Criteria
The Donna Norvell Book Award honors a book making a significant contribution to the field of literature for children through third grade. These works are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret material for children.
- The Donna Norvell Book Award will be given annually and administered by the Oklahoma Library Association's Sequoyah committee. The only limitation set as to the type of book chosen is for it to be an original work.
- The award is restricted to books with authors and illustrators residing primarily within the United States.
- The winning title will be selected by the Sequoyah Committee, which consists of an Administrative Team and two reading teams.
- The award will be announced simultaneously with the winning Sequoyah Book Award prior to the annual conference of the Oklahoma Library Association.
- The award shall consist of a plaque and/or medal honoring the author and illustrator. Both will be invited to the Association's annual conference to accept the award.
- High quality in writing and illustrations.
- Clarity and accuracy of presentation in both text and illustrative material.
- Distinctive use of language and excellent artistic presentation in illustration.
- Stimulating presentation of concepts and ideas.
- Engaging writing and illustrations.
- Style of presentation is appropriate with the age level for which the book is written.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
by Eric Litwin
New York: HarperCollins, 2011.
Pete the cat wears his school shoes when visiting the library, the lunchroom, the playground, and more while singing his special song.
by David Ezra Stein
Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2010.
Little Red Chicken wants Papa to read her a bedtime story, but interrupts him almost as soon as he begins each tale.
by Tammi Sauer.
New York: Sterling, c2009.
Determined to win tickets to an Elvis Poultry concert, hens Marge and Lola enter the Barnyard Talent Show, then, while the ducks who usually win the contest jeer, they test out their abilities.
Maybe a Bear Ate It!
by Robie Harris.
New York: Orchard Books, 2008.
At bedtime, a young boy who cannot find his favorite book imagines the various creatures that might have taken it from him.
Fred Stays with Me!
by Nancy Coffelt.
New York: Little, Brown, 2007.
Shuttled repeatedly between the homes of her divorced parents, a little girl's only constant companion is her faithful dog.
Not a Box
by Antoinette Portis.
New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over and inside a cardboard box, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.
by Lois Ehlert.
Orlando, FL. Harcourt, c2005.
Presented on die-cut pages, this story tells about how a man made of leaves blows away and travels wherever the wind takes him.
Wild About Books
by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown.
New York: Knopf, 2004.
A librarian named Mavis McGrew introduces the animals in the zoo to the joy of reading when she drives her bookmobile to the zoo by mistake.
Who Was Donna Norvell?
From 1992-2004, Donna Norvell was the Children’s Consultant for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. On October 27, 2004, Oklahoma’s Library community lost Donna to an inoperable brain tumor.
Donna was the driving force behind Oklahoma's award winning public library Summer Reading Programs. During her tenure, she brought 12 original themes to the Summer Reading Program (SRP). She diligently worked to produce the SRP manual which included bibliographies, program ideas and presenters. Donna traveled extensively each spring bringing the concept of the SRP and her enthusiasm for each new theme to all public libraries in the state. Due to Donna's dedication, summer reading participation in Oklahoma more than tripled from 26,555 during her first year to nearly 98,000 in 2004.
During her tenure at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Donna developed a Youth Advisory Services Council. With Donna’s guidance and counsel, librarians from across the state representing all types of libraries worked for three years to develop library standards for working with children and youth. Youth Services Guidelines for Oklahoma, 2003 was the result of this effort.
Donna received her Bachelor of Art Degree in Biology and Physical Education from the University of Southern Colorado. She held teaching Certificates in Colorado as an Education Media Specialist and in Oklahoma as a School Library Media Specialist. In 1982, Donna completed her Master of Library Science degree from the University of Oklahoma.
A mentor for both public and school librarians, Donna was known throughout the state and respected for her expertise and intelligence regarding children’s development, literature, libraries and library services. She was a contributing member to many professional organizations including: ALA, MPLA, ALSC, PLA, IRA and OLA.
Donna was an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma where she taught Children’s Literature. She was also a Teacher’s Associate in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University. She co-authored Travel the Globe: Multicultural Storytimes with Sandy Shropshire, DeeDee Corn, Elaine Harrod, and Desiree Webber.
After Donna's death, a group of colleagues formed the Donna Norvell Memorial Committee and as a result, the Donna Norvell Book Award was created. The award is for a book selected by the OLA Sequoyah teams based on Sequoyah criteria.