The Phoenix Award annually recognizes one English-language children's book published twenty years earlier that did not then win a major literary award. It is named for the mythical bird phoenix, which is reborn from its own ashes, signifying the book's rise from relative obscurity.
The award was established and is conferred by the Children's Literature Association (ChLA), a non-profit organization for the advancement of "the serious study of children's literature", based in the United States. The winner is selected by an elected committee of five ChLA members, from nominations by members and outsiders. The token is a brass statue.
It was inaugurated in 1985 by the award to Rosemary Sutcliff and The Mark of the Horse Lord (Oxford, 1965). Beginning 1989, as many as two runners-up have been designated "Honor Books"; 31 in 25 years through 2013.
A parallel award for children's picture books, the Phoenix Picture Book Award was approved in 2010 and inaugurated in 2013. There are two awards if the writer and illustrator are different people. "Books are considered not only for the quality of their illustrations, but for the way pictures and text work together to tell a story (whether fact or fiction). Wordless books are judged on the ability of the pictures alone to convey a story."
Gaye Hiçyilmaz, The Frozen Waterfall (Faber and Faber, 1993)
- Honor Book: Walter Dean Myers, Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary (Scholastic, 1993), a biography
The Frozen Waterfall features a 12-year-old girl, the top student in Izmir, Turkey, whose family relocates to Switzerland. Beside the shock, she recognizes that the Swiss and the Turkish immigrants are both ambivalent about cultural assimilation.
Kevin Henkes, Owen, (Greenwillow, 1993)
- Honor Book: Denise Fleming, In the Small, Small Pond (Henry Holt, 1993)
ChLA calls Owen "a perfect picture book in which text and pictures together tell the story". It features a mouse child whose parents and neighbor try to separate from his yellow blanket.
Winners and runners-up
- ‡ Seven acceptance speeches have been published online in one of two locations: Monica Hughes, 2000; Peter Dickinson, 2001; Zibby Oneal, 2002; Berlie Doherty, 2004; Peter Dickinson, 2008; Virginia Euwer Wolff, 2011; Karen Hesse, 2012.
Three authors have won two of the 28 Phoenix Awards through 2012.
- Rosemary Sutcliff, 1985, 2010
- Peter Dickinson, 2001, 2008
- Margaret Mahy, 2005, 2007
Mahy of New Zealand was also a runner up in 2006.
Several of the winners have also received the British Carnegie Medal for other books: Sutcliff (1959); Garner (1967); Garfield (1970); Southall (1971); Hunter (1974); Dickinson (1979, 1980); Mahy (1982, 1984); Doherty (1986, 1991).
Three of the winners have also won the American Newbery Medal for other books: Konigsburg (1968 and 1997); Paterson (1978, 1981); Hesse (1998).
- "(Phoenix Award)" (top page). Children's Literature Association. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- "The Phoenix Award" (brochure). ChLA. 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- "Phoenix Picture Book Award". ChLA. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- "Children's Literature Association 2013 Phoenix Award panel". Call for Papers, 40th Annual Children's Literature Association Conference, University of Southern Mississippi, Biloxi, Mississippi, June 13–15, 2013. Call for Papers (call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu). Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- "Literary Slipstreams: Children's Literature Association Conference" (2012). Children's Literature at Simmons. Simmons College. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- "List of Phoenix Award Papers". ChLA. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- The Phoenix Awards pages at the Children's Literature Association's web site. Includes links to the Phoenix Award Papers, many available online, and to five of the Phoenix Award Recipient Speeches since the year 2000 award.
- Phoenix Award on the former Children's Literature Association's Wiki. Information has not been maintained at this site since June 15, 2007, when the organization moved to their own domain. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Children's Literature Association: Announcements page "Digitization of ChLA Journals: ChLA is delighted to announce that all issues of Children's Literature and Children's Literature Association Quarterly are now available through The Johns Hopkins University Press online collection, Project Muse." Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Project MUSE - Children's Literature Association Quarterly. "ABOUT THE JOURNAL: With a new look and a new editorial staff, the Children's Literature Association Quarterly continues its tradition of publishing first-rate scholarship in Children's Literature Studies... Each issue features an editorial introduction, juried articles about research and scholarship in children's literature, and book reviews." Retrieved February 23, 2011.