Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

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The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction is an American award established in 1982 to encourage authors to focus on historical fiction. The award was created by Scott O’Dell, author of Island of the Blue Dolphins and 25 other children's books, in hopes of increasing young readers' interest in the history that shaped their nation and their world. Eligibility for the award requires that a book be written in English for children or young adults, published by an American publisher, and the author must be a United States citizen. The award is recognized in the United States by publishers of children's literature and young adult literature, the American Library Association [1], and the Assembly for Literature of Adolescents [2].

Selection Committee[edit]

The annual selection from qualifying books is made by the O’Dell Committee. Zena Sutherland — who was Professor Emeritus of Children’s Literature at the University of Chicago — headed the committee from its formation in 1982 until her death in 2002. The committee currently consists of three people: Chairperson Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief of The Horn Book; Ann Carlson, Librarian at Oak Park and River Forest High School; and Deborah Stevenson, Editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books].

History[edit]

No award was given in 1982 and 1983, as the committee felt that “no books of sufficient merit had been published.” Elizabeth George Speare was the first recipient, receiving the award for her book, The Sign of the Beaver, a tale of wilderness survival. The award has been presented every year since 1984. O’Dell himself won the award in 1987 for Streams to the River, River to the Sea, his fictional retelling of the story of Sacagawea. Louise Erdrich has won the award twice, in 2006 and in 2013.

Past winners[edit]

Year Recipient Book Title Publisher
2014 Kirkpatrick Hill Bo at Ballard Creek Henry Holt and Co.
2013 Louise Erdrich Chickadee HarperCollins
2012 Jack Gantos Dead End in Norvelt Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
2011 Rita Williams-Garcia One Crazy Summer Amistad
2010 Matt Phelan The Storm in the Barn Candlewick
2009 Laurie Halse Anderson Chains Simon & Schuster
2008 Christopher Paul Curtis Elijah of Buxton Scholastic Press
2007 Ellen Klages The Green Glass Sea Viking Children's Books
2006 Louise Erdrich The Game of Silence Harper Collins Children's Books
2005 A LaFaye Worth Simon & Schuster
2004 Richard Peck The River Between Us Dial Press
2003 Shelley Pearsall Trouble Don't Last Alfred A Knopf
2002 Mildred D. Taylor The Land Phyllis Fogelman Books
2001 Janet Taylor Lisle The Art of Keeping Cool A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum
2000 Miriam Bat-Ami Two Suns in the Sky Front Street/Cricket Books
1999 Harriette Robinet Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule Jean Fritz/Atheneum
1998 Karen Hesse Out of the Dust Scholastic
1997 Katherine Paterson Jip, His Story Dutton
1996 Theodore Taylor The Bomb Harcourt, Brace
1995 Graham Salisbury Under the Blood Red Sun Delacorte
1994 Paul Fleischman Bull Run Laura Geringer/Harper-Collins
1993 Michael Dorris Morning Girl Hyperion
1992 Mary Downing Hahn Stepping on the Cracks Clarion
1991 Pieter Van Raven A Time of Troubles Charles Scribner's Sons
1990 Carolyn Reeder Shades of Grey Macmillan
1989 Lyll Becerra de Jenkins The Honorable Prison Lodestar/Dutton
1988 Patricia Beatty Charley Skedaddle Morrow
1987 Scott O'Dell Streams to the River, River to the Sea Houghton Mifflin
1986 Patricia MacLachlan Sarah, Plain and Tall Harper & Row
1985 Avi The Fighting Ground Lippincott
1984 Elizabeth George Speare The Sign of the Beaver Houghton Mifflin

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