Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Books by Oklahoma Authors

During the spring, I bought a book basket that was sold as part of a fundraiser. The theme of the book basket was "Books by Oklahoma Authors." I decided to purchase the books since the basket was just $10.00, knowing that I might find an interesting book to read. I have read three of the books.

Two of the books, Night Fires by George Edward Stanley and Trapped in Death Cave by Bill Wallace, are set in Oklahoma. This is a rare treat to read a children's book that is set in Oklahoma and written by an Oklahoma author. All of my previous experiences with books set in Oklahoma have been bad, because the authors know nothing about the state and mess up details that a little bit of research would fix.

One horrific example is the only Nancy Drew book I would recommend burning, #156 The Mystery in Tornado Alley. That author messed up a town and a city. The book features the city of Medicine Bluff, which has a university, and the nearby small town of Lawton. In real life, the small town is Medicine Park, and the nearby city with a university is Lawton. Unforgivable.

And don't get me started about the unrealistic information about tornadoes, which is why every copy should be burned. Children could read this book and believe that they could be sucked into an EF5 tornado and set down gently on the ground. Why take cover from a tornado after reading that? I'm glad the stupid book is out of print.

You can understand why reading a book set in Oklahoma that is written by an Oklahoma author is a real pleasure for me. I can avoid utter stupidity.

Night Fires is set in Lawton, Oklahoma approximately 100 years ago. A thirteen-year-old white boy, Woodrow Harper, moves to Lawton with his mother. They also visit nearby Medicine Park, which is correctly described as a small town. Thank you! Their home in Lawton is next to the home of Senator Crawford, a white man who befriends Woodrow. Woodrow's father has recently died, and Woodrow sees the Senator as a father figure.

Woodrow learns that the Senator is the Grand Wizard of the Lawton Ku Klux Klan. He is torn between what he has always believed and what the Klan believes. Woodrow is pulled at least partially into the Klan due to his desire to please Senator Crawford. Ultimately, Woodrow makes the right decision, but not without a great price.

I found this book to be very interesting and was drawn in by the powerful message.

Trapped in Death Cave is set in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. Gary's grandfather died in a fishing accident. Gary believes that his grandfather was murdered, because he knew the location of a million dollars that was hidden in a cave.

I found this book slow at the beginning and not very interesting. After several chapters, I became very interested and read the book quickly, wanting to know how the story would play out. The climax of the book is quite terrifying. This book would appeal to any child who enjoys reading about thrilling adventures.

The third book is Stolen by the Sea by Anna Myers. This book tells the story of Maggie McKenna who lived in Galveston, Texas in 1900 at the time of the devastating hurricane that struck the city. The characters in the book are fictitious, but the author incorporated real events into the story. In the author's note at the end of the book, Anna Myers wrote:
Everything that happened during the storm to one of my characters actually hapened to someone who told about his or her experience in that wonderful old book [that was published shortly after the storm and was full of eyewitness accounts of the storm].
Knowing that the events of this story are based on actual events makes the story quite moving.

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