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Scott O'Dell Award

The famed author of the novel Island of Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell established the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction in 1984. The award is presented each year to the best historical novel written for children. A true pioneer and advocate for social consciousness and public responsibility, O'Dell hoped that historical fiction would encourage such activism and awareness in children. O'Dell was a staunch supporter of gender equity, and he featured many young women as his protagonists.

The Scott O'Dell Award is designed to encourage and support new and young authors, and only American authors with American publishers are eligible to win. Additionally, the setting of the novel must be in North, South, or Central America. The Award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

The first winner of the Scott O'Dell award was Elizabeth George Speare for The Sign of the Beaver, Paul Fleischman for Bull Run, and Karen Hesse for Out of the Dust.

2010 Winner

The Storm In the Barn

The Storm In the Barn By Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including ALWAYS by Ann Stott and THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY by Susan Patron, winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal. THE STORM IN THE BARN is his first graphic novel. He lives in Philadelphia.... read more

2009 Winner


Chains By Laurie Halse Anderson

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cru... read more

2007 Winner

The Green Glass Sea

The Green Glass Sea By Ellen Klages

A backlist gem gets a brand-new look! It's 1943, and eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is en route to New Mexico to live with her mathematician father. Soon she arrives at a town that, officially, doesn't exist. It is called Los Alamos, and it is abuz... read more

2005 Winner


Worth By A Lafaye

After Nathaniel's leg is crushed in an accident, his father brings home an orphan boy, John Worth, to help work the fields. Worth has come to Nebraska from New York City on the Orphan Train, which brings homeless children west to find new lives. N... read more

2004 Winner

The River Between Us

The River Between Us By Richard Peck

The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt fami... read more

2003 Winner

Trouble Don't Last

Trouble Don't Last By Pearsall- Shelley

Eleven-year-old Samuel was born as Master Hackler's slave, and working the Kentucky farm is the only life he's ever known--until one dark night in 1859, that is. With no warning, cranky old Harrison, a fellow slave, pulls Samuel from his bed and, tog... read more

2002 Winner

The Land

The Land By Mildred Taylor

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award! Millions of fans have followed the Logan family in their seven-book series. Living in the South in the not-so-distant past, the Logans are the only black family to own farmland, while most of their black nei... read more

2001 Winner

The Art Of Keeping Cool

The Art Of Keeping Cool By Janet Taylor Lisle

The Art of Keeping Cool is a children's book by Janet Tyler Lisle. It was named a Riverbank Review Book of Distinction, an ALA Notable Children's Book, a Horn Book Fanfare, and a selection of the Junior Library Guild and the Scholastic Book C... read more

1998 Winner

Out Of the Dust

Out Of the Dust By Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust is a verse novel written by Karen Hesse. It was winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998, Scott O'Dell Award, an ALA Notable Children's Book, an ALA "Best book" a School Library Journal "best book of the year", ... read more

1997 Winner


Jip By Katherine Paterson

While living on a Vermont poor farm during 1855 and 1856, Jip learns his identity and that of his mother and comes to understand how he arrived at this place.

1996 Winner


Bomb By Theodore Taylor

It is 1946, a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and World War II is over. But the U.S. government has decided that further tests of atomic bombs must be conducted. Bikini Atoll is chosen for the testing site, so the people who have ... read more

1995 Winner

Under the Blood-Red Sun

Under the Blood-Red Sun By Graham Salisbury

Graham Salisbury’s family has been in the Hawaiian Islands since the early 1800s. He currently lives with his family in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of the award-winning Blue Skin of the Sea and Lord of the Deep .

1992 Winner

Stepping On the Cracks

Stepping On the Cracks By Mary Downing Hahn

In 1944, when her brother is overseas fighting in World War II, eleven-year-old Margaret changes her mind about the school bully, Gordy, after she discovers he is hiding his own brother, a deserter.

1987 Winner

Streams To the River, River To the Sea

Streams To the River, River To the Sea By Scott O'dell

A young Indian woman, accompanied by her infant and her cruel husband, experiences joy and heartbreak when she joins the Lewis and Clark expedition seeking a way to the Pacific.

1985 Winner

The Fighting Ground

The Fighting Ground By Avi

The Fighting Ground is a 1984 children's book written by Edward Irving Wortis, under his pen name, Avi. The book is about a 13-year-old boy going off to fight in the American Revolutionary War, and covers two days, April 3, 1778 and April 4, 1778... read more

1984 Winner

The Sign Of the Beaver

The Sign Of the Beaver By Elizabeth George Speare

The Sign of the Beaver is a historical fiction children's novel by author Elizabeth George Speare, which has merited numerous literary awards. It was published in February 1983, and has become one of her most popular works. The Sign of the Beaver... read more

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