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 that 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 nonprofit organization based in the United States whose mission is to advance "the serious study of children's literature". The winner is selected by an elected committee of five ChLA members, from nominations by members and outsiders. The token is a brass statue.
The inaugural, 1985 Phoenix Award recognized The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff (Oxford, 1965). Beginning 1989, as many as two runners-up have been designated "Honor Books", with 32 named for the 27 years to 2015.[a]
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."
The 30th annual Phoenix Award and second Phoenix Picture Book Award were presented on June 21, 2014, at the close of the 41st ChLA Conference that was hosted by the University of South Carolina in Columbia. (In a change from recent years, the 2015 winners and honor books were then announced on the organization's public website. They are included in the tables below.)
Gary Soto, Jesse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)
- Honor Book: Graham Salisbury, Under the Blood-Red Sun (Delacorte)
"Jesse is both a coming-of-age story of one Mexican-American boy with a poetic sensibility and the story of a community and a country at a difficult time—facing poverty and prejudice and war, problems we are still facing today. Jesse offers an unembellished slice of life in Vietnam-era Fresno, California."
- Picture Book
Raymond Briggs, The Bear (Julia MacRae Books, 1994)
- Honor Book: Peggy Rathmann, Good Night, Gorilla (Putnam)
- Honor Book: Anne Isaacs and Paul Zelinsky, Swamp Angel (Dutton)
"With surprising page-turns, felicitous pauses, and pitch-perfect dialogue, Briggs renders the drama and humor of child–adult and child–bear relations, while questioning the nature of imagination and reality. As a picture book presented in graphic novel format, Briggs's work was ground-breaking when first published and remains cutting edge twenty years later in its creative unity of text and picture."
Phoenix Award winners
- ‡ 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 writers each won two of the 31 Phoenix Awards through 2015.
- 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).
Picture Book Award winners
There were 3 Phoenix Picture Book Award winners and 5 Honor Books named for 2013 through 2015.
The writer is listed first, the illustrator second if distinct.
|2015||Sara Fanelli, My Map Book||Charlotte Zolotow and Stefano Vitale, When the Wind Stops
(revised and newly illustrated, 1995)
Kady MacDonald Denton, Would They Love a Lion?
|2014||Raymond Briggs, The Bear||Peggy Rathmann, Good Night, Gorilla|
|2013||Kevin Henkes, Owen||Denise Fleming, In the Small, Small Pond|
- When the Wind Stops, written by Zolotow and illustrated by Vitale (HarperCollins, 1995), "revised and newly illustrated" OCLC 731251488. When the Wind Stops, written by Zolotow and edited by Ursula Nordstrom, was published in 1962 with illustrations by Howard Knotts (New York: Harper & Row, OCLC 427201792) and by Joe Lasker (London: Abelard-Schuman, OCLC 680167163).
- "Phoenix Award" (current top page). Children's Literature Association (ChLA). Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- "Phoenix Picture Book Award". ChLA. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- "Schedule". Children's Literature Association 41st Annual Conference Conference. ChLA. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- ChLA Newsletter. Vol. 20, Issue 2 (Autumn 2013). pp. 6–7. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
Pages 2–7 comprise material related to the June 2014 annual conference.
- "The Phoenix Award" (brochure). ChLA. 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-24 and 2014-07-11.
- "Phoenix Award" (top page). ChLA. Archived 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "Phoenix Award" (top page). ChLA. Archived 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- ChLA Newsletter. Vol. 19, Issue 2 (Autumn 2012). p. 6. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "List of Phoenix Award Papers" (2000–2010). ChLA. Archived 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2014-07-13. The linked papers are not archived here (Internet Archive).
- "Previous Award and Honor Books Recipients" (1985–2009). ChLA. January 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- Children's Literature Association (ChLA)
- Awards from previous years (1985–2007) at chla.wikispaces.com, predecessor to the ChLA website – identifies some publishers of later editions; provides award citations of 2005 to 2007 winners
- Children's Literature Association Quarterly at Project MUSE (jhu.edu/journals), Volume 1 (1976) to present; annual conference Proceedings, 1978 to 1991 only (subscription required) – open-access lists of contents include full bibliographic citations for articles and publications searches for authors