Honor roll: Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Each of these books has been nominated for a Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

Rita Williams-Garcia

Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education. …[more]

Book:Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton

Christopher Paul Curtis

As a first-generation freeborn black, 11-year-old Elijah Buxton had no direct experience with slavery. That changes, however, when a thief steals money set aside for freeing a friend’s enslaved family. Elijah sets off rapidly in pursuit, leaving behind his Canadian home and crossing into dangerous American territory, where he encounters terrifying evidence of the grievous human cost of slavery.

Book:The Land

The Land: Book 1 of Logan Family

Mildred D. Taylor

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 neighbors are sharecroppers on white-owned land. But where did this valuable legacy come from?

The story begins with Paul-Edward Logan, grandfather of Cassie Logan, the beloved protagonist of Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Born during the Civil War, Paul-Edward is the son of a white plantation owner and a former slave. Though not an unusual heritage, his upbringing is. Paul-Edward’s white father sees to it that he and his sister have many of the privileges their white half-brothers enjoy. But at fourteen, Paul-Edward runs away to seek his fortune. His story is filled with exciting, sometimes heart-breaking adventures, and what is most amazing, his dream of land-ownership, almost impossible for a black…[more]

Book:Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Patricia MacLachlan

“Did Mama sing every day?” Caleb asks his sister Anna. “Every-single-day,” she answers. “Papa sang, too.”

Their mother died the day after Caleb was born. Their house on the prairie is quiet now, and Papa doesn’t sing anymore. Then Papa puts an ad in the paper, asking for a wife, and he receives a letter from one Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton, of Maine. Papa, Anna, and Caleb write back. Caleb asks if she sings. Sarah decides to come for a month. She writes Papa: I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall, and Tell them I sing. Anna and Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she like them? Will she stay?

Book:Chains

Chains

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 cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

Book:The River Between Us

The River Between Us

Richard Peck

Richard Peck is a master of stories about people in transition, but perhaps never before has he told a tale of such dramatic change as this one, set during the first year of the Civil War. The whole country is changing in 1861-even the folks from a muddy little Illinois settlement on the banks of the Mississippi. Here, fifteen-year-old Tilly Pruitt frets over the fact that her brother is dreaming of being a soldier and that her sister is prone to supernatural visions. A boy named Curry could possibly become a distraction.

Then a steamboat whistle splits the air. The Rob Roy from New Orleans docks at the landing, and off the boat step two remarkable figures: a vibrant, commanding young lady in a rustling hoop skirt and a darker, silent woman in a plain cloak, with a bandanna wrapped around her head. Who are these two fascinating strangers? And is the darker woman a slave, standing now on the free…[more]

Book:Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Jack Gantos

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels…and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air. 

Book:Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust: A Novel

Karen Hesse

This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo’s struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression. With stoic courage, she learns to cope with the loss of her mother and her grieving father’s slow deterioration. There is hope at the end when Billie Jo’s badly burned hands are healed, and she is able to play her beloved piano again.

Book:The Sign of the Beaver

The Sign of the Beaver

Elizabeth George Speare

Until the day his father returns to their cabin in the Maine wilderness, twelve-year-old Matt must try to survive on his own. Although Matt is brave, he's not prepared for an attack by swarming bees, and he's astonished when he's rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson, Attean.

As the  boys come to know each other Attean learns to speak English while Matt becomes a skilled hunter. Though many months have passed, there's no sign of  Matt's family. Then Attean asks Matt to join the  Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever seeing his family again and move on to a new life?

Book:Chickadee: Book 4 of the Birchbark House Series

Chickadee: Book 4 of the Birchbark House Series

Louise Erdrich

Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have spent every day side by side and have done everything together since they were born—until the day the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated.

Desperate to reunite, Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness. And through it all, Chickadee has the strength of his namesake, the chickadee, to carry him on.

I am only the Chickadee
Yet small things have great power
I speak the truth.

Launching a new arc in the celebrated Birchbark House series, Chickadee continues the story of one Ojibwe family’s journey through one hundred years in America.

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