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Sequoyah Book Awards
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Sequoyah Book Awards LogoWith this award, Oklahoma honors the Native American leader Sequoyah, for his unique achievement in creating the Cherokee syllabary. Sequoyah chose eighty-five symbols to represent all spoken sounds of the Cherokee language. In so doing, he created a way to preserve his people's language and culture.

Sequoyah Book Award Logo:

In 2017 an ad hoc committee under OLA President Melody Kellogg was formed to plan a refresh of the logo for the Sequoyah Book Award. A state-wide contest was held and the winning logo, which is now used as the official logo today, was created by Oklahoma artist Josh Mindemann.

Sequoyah Great Books Grant

Sequoyah Great Books Grant Logo
Each year, the Sequoyah Reading Team members receive thousands of dollars of newly published books that have been targeted primarily towards children and young adults and eligible for the Sequoyah Masterlists. The purpose of this grant is to give these titles to at least two libraries, in need, with at least $2000 worth of new books each. The books available during this trial grant cycle are intended for young adults ages 12-18 and are almost all hardback titles. Learn more and apply for the grant here . . .


2020 Sequoyah Book Award Winners

The Sequoyah Committees are pleased to announce the winners of the Sequoyah Book Awards for 2020:

  • Children’s: Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood
  • Intermediate: Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • High School: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

The Donna Norvell Award winner is Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich.

Complete information about both the Sequoyah and Donna Norvell Book Awards is available in the Sequoyah Policy Manual.

Sequoyah Masterlists for 2021

Each masterlist is created to appeal to children in a variety of situations, interests and reading levels.  The books on the masterlists are not intended to be an automatic recommendation of the books.  Since selection policies vary, one should apply the specific guidelines to each title and purchase those titles that meet individual selection policies.  The masterlists are not to be taken as recommendations that children be encouraged or required to read every title on a particular list. Teachers and other group leaders should carefully read and consider a title before reading a masterlist title to a class or group, or  assigning a title as required reading.  It is not the intention of the committees that every student must read every book on each masterlist.

2021 Promotional Materials are here!

Reading Certificate

Suitable for all years and awards.

Get involved!

Volunteer for a OLA Sequoyah Reading Team. The Sequoyah Administration Team appoints volunteers to reading teams in the fall of each year. Fill out the OLA Sequoyah Volunteer Form. Interested volunteers must fill out the form every year.

Timeline for 2020 Sequoyah Volunteer Application Process:

  • Applications Open—July 27, 2020
  • Applications Close—November 2, 2020
  • Decisions should be made by December 1, 2020

About the Award

The first Sequoyah Children's Book Award was given in April, 1959, making the award the third oldest children's choice award in the nation.

In 1988, the first Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award was given. Twenty years later the YA book award was changed to “Intermediate Award” and a High School award was created and was first awarded in 2010.

Sequoyah Voting opens on Feb 1st of each year and closes on March 15th with the winner announced before March 30th.  The awards are given annually, usually as an event at the Oklahoma Library Association's Annual Conference.

The Oklahoma Library Association honors Sequoyah for his unique achievement in creating the Cherokee syllabary, the 86 symbols representing the different sounds in the Cherokee language.

His statue is one of the two representing Oklahoma in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The son of a Cherokee mother and a white trader father, Sequoyah, Cherokee for "Lame One," was also known by his English name, George Guess.

A cabin built by Sequoyah as part of a United States government grant still stands near Sallisaw. This grant was the first given for literary achievement in the United States. 

Photo of the first Sequoyah Award presentation

Above: Photograph of the first Sequoyah Book Award presentation on April 11, 1959.  Originally published in the Oklahoma Librarian, July 1959, vol. 9, no. 3, p. 57.

All graphics are copyright 2002-2019 by the Oklahoma Library Association. Permission is granted for Schools and Libraries to use them when promoting the Sequoyah Book Awards. For all other uses, written permission from the Oklahoma Library Association is required.

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