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The Donna Norvell Oklahoma Book Award
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Donna Norvell Book Award Medallion

The Donna Norvell Book Award was established in 2005 by the Oklahoma Library Association and is given annually, with the first award given in 2006. The Donna Norvell Book Award honors a book that has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for  children through second grade. This award was a librarian’s choice award and selected by the librarians who are members of the Oklahoma Library Association’s Sequoyah Book Award Committee until 2020 when it was changed to a children’s choice award for children’s  grades 2 and under, with the Children’s Sequoyah Committee selecting the nominees.

The award is named for Donna Norvell, Children’s Consultant for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries from 1992-2004, who passed away in 2004. The award honors Donna’s contributions to the development of the library profession in Oklahoma.

The artwork for the Donna Norvell Award logo was created by artist Kim Doner from Tulsa, OK.

Lightning Lesson Plans (One off lesson plans/programs)



  • The Norvell Award will be given annually.
  • The Oklahoma Library Association Sequoyah committee will administer the award.
  • It must be for an original work for children in grades 2 and under.
  • The winning title will be voted on by children grades 2 and under from titles presented by the current year’s Children’s Reading Team.
  • The Norvell Award will be announced at the same time as the winning Sequoyah Book award authors are announced.
  • The award shall consist of plaque and/or medal honoring the author and illustrator.


Nomination Eligibility

  • High quality in writing and illustration
  • Clarity and accuracy of presentation in both text and illustrative material
  • Distinctive use of language
  • Excellent artistic presentation in illustration
  • Stimulating presentation of concepts and ideas
  • Engaging writing and illustration
  • Age appropriate style of presentation
  • Title considered for the award must be copyrighted one (1) year preceding the date of winner announcement.
  • Titles that are self-published, published online in eBook format, and/or published by a publisher outside of the U.S. will not be considered eligible until the first year the book is available in print or distributed through a U.S. publishing house.


Award Winners

2020 Winner

Cover of Nobody Hugs a CactusNobody Hugs a Cactus
by Carter Goodrich
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2019.

Hank, a cactus who is as prickly on the inside as he is on the outside, decides he wants a hug.


2019 Winner

Cover of Can I Be Your Dog?Can I Be Your Dog?
by Troy Cummings
Random House Children's Books, 2018.

A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters--deeply sincere and almost desperate pleas for a forever home--from the dog, himself!


2018 Winner

Cover of The Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsThe Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex
Harpercollins Childrens Books, 2017.

From the Kingdom of the Backyard, Rock searches for an adversary that might best him, meanwhile Paper and Scissors set off on their own quests for competitors.


2017 Winner

Cover of Red: A Crayon's StoryRed: A Crayon's Story
by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2015.

A crayon has an identity crisis, as he believes himself to be red when he is, actually, blue. As friends and family try to help it is a friendship that leads him on a path of self-discovery of who he really is.


2016 Winner

Cover of The Adventures of BeekleThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
by Dan Santat
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014.

An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally does the unimaginable--he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world.


2015 Winner

Cover of The Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt; illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Philomel Books, 2013.

When Duncan arrives at school one morning, he finds a stack of letters, one from each of his crayons, complaining about how he uses them.


2014 Winner

Cover of Chloe and the LionChloe and the Lion
by Mac Barnett
Hyperion Books, 2012.

Mac, the author, fires Adam, the illustrator, over their artistic differences about Chloe, the main character of their book, until Mac realizes both of their talents are needed and they must work together or their story about Chloe will never be finished. 


2013 Winner

Cover of Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School ShoesPete 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.


2012 Winner

Cover of Interrupting ChickenInterrupting Chicken
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.


2011 Winner

Cover of Chicken DanceChicken Dance
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.


2010 Winner

Cover of Maybe a Bear Ate It!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.


2009 Winner

Cover of Fred Stays With Me!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.


2008 Winner

Cover of Not a BoxNot 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.


2007 Winner

Cover of Leaf ManLeaf Man
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.


2006 Winner

Cover of Wild About BooksWild 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?

Photograph of Donna NorvellFrom 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.
Photograph of Donna Norvell

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. 

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