Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Scott O'Dell Award

From the blog Read Roger, written by Roger Sutton, chair of the 2011 Scott O'Dell Award committee: 

The winner of the 2011 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The summer Delphine is “eleven going on twelve,” she and her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are sent from Brooklyn to Oakland to visit their mother, Cecile, who left the family soon after Fern was born. Beginning with the girls’ first scary but exhilarating plane ride, their summer of 1968 is a microcosm of the new directions in which the nation found itself traveling. Their mother, distrustful and secretive, has renamed herself Nzila; she sends the girls off every morning for breakfast and summer school at the Black Panthers’ People’s Center. Why does she have a printing press in her kitchen, and why does she refuse to call Fern anything but “Little Girl”? As expressed through the candid, questioning, and take-no-prisoners voice of the spirited Delphine, Williams-Garcia’s exploration of the nascent Black Power movement is always rooted in the particulars of the girls' experience. In her sturdy self-reliance, Delphine recalls the heroine of a book she has brought along for the summer—Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. Readers won’t be able to forget her.

Established in 1982 by the great historical fiction writer Scott O’Dell, the annual $5000 Award is given for a distinguished work of historical fiction for young people, published by a U. S. publisher; the setting must be South, Central, or North America, and the author must be a U.S. citizen. Since O’Dell’s death, the Award has been administered by his wife, Elizabeth Hall.

Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief of the Horn Book Inc., is the Committee Chair. He succeeds Hazel Rochman and the late Zena Sutherland, who served as chair from the inception of the Award. The other members of the committee are Ann Carlson, History and Fine Arts Librarian, OakPark and River Forest High School; and Laura Tillotson, Books for Youth Editorial Director of Booklist magazine.

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