"Night Fires," a novel by Cameron University professor George E. Stanley, was named Best Young Adult Book at the Oklahoma Book Awards, held Saturday, April 17, at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. "Night Fires" was published in August 2009 by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin Books.
"This award is extremely important to me, because Oklahoma is extremely important to me," says Dr. Stanley, who grew up in Memphis, Texas but whose family is rooted in the state of Oklahoma. He recalls visiting his grandparents and other family members during his childhood, a time when he came to consider Oklahoma "paradise." A member of the Cameron faculty since 1970, he says, "It never occurred to me back then that I would spend my entire professional life in Oklahoma, but I have, and it was happenstance, but Oklahoma is still paradise."
The School Library Journal has called "Night Fires", "a thought-provoking novel about racism in rural Oklahoma." Highly charged and provocative, the volume explores the influence of the Ku Klux Klan in 1920's Oklahoma and the danger of succumbing to peer pressure. Aimed at children ages 8-12, it is a powerful depiction of a shameful chapter in American history, as well as a deeply personal story of a boy's struggle to discover who his father was - and who he wants to become.
Dr. George Edward Stanley, Professor of African and Middle-Eastern Languages and Linguistics, was inducted into the Cameron University Faculty Hall of Fame in 2005. Other honors for Stanley include a Fulbright Professorship to the University N'Djamena, Chad; National Member of the Year from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; and induction into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.
He has authored more than 100 books for young people, more than 200 short stories which have appeared in American, British, Irish and South African magazines, and linguistics articles for major international journals. Dr. Stanley is also the author of "Writing Short Stories for Young People," published by Writer's Digest Books. His next children's book, "Teddy Kennedy: Lion of the Senate," part of the Childhood of Famous Americans series, is scheduled for release in August.
The Oklahoma Book Awards, presented by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, are given each year in fiction, non-fiction, children/young adult, poetry, and design/illustration categories for work written by an Oklahoman or about Oklahoma. Winners were selected by a panel of judges representing a range of expertise in the writing and publishing fields.
April 21, 2010