The Big Read: Putnam City North Seniors Reading "Big League City"Beginning this week and lasting through the end of November, all 330 senior English students at Putnam City North High School are reading "Big League City: Oklahoma City's Rise to the NBA" by State Senator David Holt, a 1997 Putnam City North graduate.
"Big League City", published earlier this year by Full Circle Press, is the story behind the arrival of the National Basketball Association in Oklahoma City. Most Oklahomans know the story ends with the establishment of a successful NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. What Holt thoroughly documents in the behind-the-scenes book is how a mix of unexpected events and the vision, commitment and smarts of Oklahoma City business and government leaders brought the team to town. The book is much more than sports history. It is in some ways a history of Oklahoma City and its emergence into the national and international spotlight.
"We think 'Big League City' is an important non-fiction book about our city's history, and tells a story that the students are very interested in," says Dr. Randy Baker, chairman of the Putnam City North English Department and Holt’s former English teacher. "We also think it is a unique opportunity for the students to read a book written by an alumnus of our school, and someone that they will have the opportunity to interact with as they read."
As Baker suggests, students will not only read the book. They also get to talk with the author. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Holt will sit down for a question and answer session with students. He will return for another session toward the end of November. Students will have a chance to pick Holt’s brain not only about the Thunder and city history, but also about the mechanics of research, writing, revising and publishing a book.
Holt says he hopes future authors among Putnam City North seniors will find special value in the experience.
“I think an important element in becoming a better writer is to read what others write. It helps you develop your own writing style. These students are starting to find their own voices as writers, and I hope this book will serve as another milestone on their path. And certainly, there will be a lesson here, too, about writing what you know and recognizing opportunities to tell an interesting story that maybe only you can,” Holt says.
Local businesses, foundations and citizens joined together to buy the books for students. The purchase of the books was funded by the Inasmuch Foundation, the American Fidelity Foundation, Full Circle Bookstore, Jim Tolbert, Holt and other individual donors. And now that the books are on hand, reading "Big League City" and sitting down to talk with the author can be something experienced annually by future Putnam City North senior English students.
Holt draws his own meaning out of the experience.
"My father taught English at Putnam City North, and I'm a graduate, so it's an incredible honor to now be a part of the curriculum," says Holt. "I'm thrilled that these students will learn about one of the most important stories in our city's history through this book."
Author Q&A Event Details
Who: Sen. Holt and Putnam City North students
When: 1:25 – 1:54 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 28
Where: Putnam City North High School, 11800 N. Rockwell (the main entrance of the school is on the east side, or back side)
Photo and Interview Opportunities: Sen. Holt talking with students; students asking questions. Interviews with students about the book and what they are getting out of the experience. Interview with Sen. Holt about coming back to his old school and what he hopes will be accomplished.