In honor of Oklahoma’s upcoming centennial celebration I want to let you know about a book that would make a great Christmas gift: S is for Sooner, written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Kandy Radzinski. It’s an alphabet book, but it isn’t just for younger children. One of the things I really like about it is that each page contains two sets of running storylines. The large bold type is a traditional picture book style rhyming story. The smaller type is a non-fiction narrative suitable for all age groups. Here is an example:
“P is for panhandle. Our state looks that way
But it didn’t always have the kind of shape it has today.
Three Texas counties became Oklahoma land.
And they made a perfect handle for Oklahoma’s pan.”
“In 1850 the state of Texas handed a vast area of land to the U.S. government. Most of it was divided into other states, but for 40 years the rectangle that would become the Oklahoma panhandle sat unattached to any state or territory. It became known as ‘No Man’s Land’.
Finally, in 1890, the strip of land was declared part of Oklahoma Territory. By 1907 it was divided into Beaver, Texas, and Cimarron counties.
Cimarron County borders more states than any other United States county (Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.)”
There is lots of information in the book about famous Oklahomans such as artist Chester Gould, Geronimo, Oscar Hammerstein, Shannon Lucid, Will Rogers, Wilma Mankiller, and Wiley Post. There are also facts about towns, forts, and other Oklahoma attractions. The “X” page is for an x on the calendar to mark April nineteen. At the end of the book there is a list of questions you can ask your budding young historian- after you find the answers for yourself!
You’ll also enjoy the illustrations in the book. They are colorful and enticing. I especially like the one of a little cowboy eating Spaghetti (K is for Krebs).
Devin Scillian is an author, journalist, and musician. He was formerly an anchor for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.
Kandy Radzinski is an artist and teacher who lives in Tulsa.