Jump to content

Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction is an annual American children's book award that recognizes historical fiction. It was established in 1982 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]

Award nomination[edit]

Books may be submitted throughout the year to the Award Committee. Award nomination forms must be submitted with the required information for each title a publisher, literary agent, or author wish to bring to the attention of the Award Committee. [3]

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 home of The Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction was moved in 2022 to the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at the Kent State University iSchool in Kent, Ohio. In partnership with Kent State University, the O'Dell family and matriarchs Elizabeth Hall (Scott's widow) and Lauren Anderson Gerber (Scott's granddaughter) continue to administer and fund the annual award. The 2024 Committee includes: Maria Trivisonno (Chair), Family Engagement Specialist, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH; Kristen Blackshear, Social Studies Teacher, Glenwood School, Smiths Station, AL, and Adjunct History Instructor, Southern Union State Community College, Opelika, AL; Marianne Martens, Ph.D., Professor, Kent State University School of Information, Kent, OH; Mary Anne Nichols, Senior Lecturer, Kent State University School of Information, Kent, OH; Uma Nori, Head, Youth Services, Thomas Ford Memorial Library, Western Springs, IL; Debra Liddell Quarles, Library and Information Specialist, Shaker Heights City Schools, Shaker Heights, OH; Mike Rogalla, Children's Services Manager, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL; and Kerry Shelton, Principal, St. Gabriel Consolidated School, Glendale, OH.[4]


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.


Year Recipient Book Title Publisher
2023 Irene Latham and Charles Waters African Town G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
2022 Justina Ireland Ophie’s Ghosts Balzer + Bray
2021 Helen Frost All He Knew Farrar Straus and Giroux
2020 Thanhhà Lại Butterfly Yellow HarperCollins
2019 Lesa Cline-Ransome Finding Langston Holiday House
2018 Lauren Wolk Beyond the Bright Sea Dutton Books for Young Readers
2017 Jennifer L. Holm Full of Beans Random House
2016 Laura Amy Schlitz The Hired Girl Candlewick Press
2015 Kirby Larson Dash Scholastic
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 HarperCollins 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 Gray 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


See also[edit]


  • Submission Information.[6]
  • 2007 Committee Press Release.[7]


  1. ^ "American Library Association". Ala.org. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  2. ^ "About | ALAN Online". Alan-ya.org. Retrieved 2015-02-19.
  3. ^ https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/72881fdd-5afa-43cb-aeea-637538132e00/downloads/Award%20Nomination%20Form%2C%202023-24.pdf?ver=1683582562202
  4. ^ https://scottodell.com/the-scott-odell-award
  5. ^ https://scottodell.com/the-scott-odell-award
  6. ^ "Scott O'Dell Award Submission Information" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 28, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
  7. ^ "07 Press Release" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.

External links[edit]