Scott O'dell Award for Historical Fiction
1984 - 1999

1984

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare  j SPE

Left alone to guard the family's wilderness home in eighteenth-century Maine, a boy is hard-pressed to survive until local Indians teach him their skills.


1985

The Fighting Ground by Avi  YA AVI

He may be just thirteen, but Jonathan knows he's ready to go to the war against the British. He can handle a gun. He yearns to battle for glory, just like his brother and cousin.

So when Jonathan hears the tavern bell toll, calling men to fight, he runs to join them. He doesn't realize that in just twenty-four hours, his life will be forever altered -- by the war, by his fellow soldiers, and by the terrible choices he must make.

1986

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan  j MAC

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?

1987

Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O'Dell  j ODE; YA ODE

Scagawea, a Shashone Indian, guided and interpreted for explorers Lewis and Clarke as they traveled up the Mississippi, but she had adventures long before that one, like the time she was captured by the Minnetarees, and taken away from her family and everything that she knew and loved

1988

Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty Charley 

Fighting is important to Charley Quinn, 12, a street-tough New York Bowery Boy who runs away from his Irish-Catholic home to join the Union forces in Virginia. But war proves much more horrible than he'd thoughtso terrible, in fact, that he deserts, giving himself the disparaging name "Skedaddle." Afterward, Charley takes refuge in the mountains with Granny Bent, a midwife with her own secret loyalties.

1989
The Honorable Prison by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins  

Marta Maldonado lives in a small Latin American country that is being run by a dictator. People who oppose the dictator have a habit of "disappearing". Marta's family has finally had enough and Marta's father decides the time is right to leave the country. The decision comes too late, however. There is a knock on the door and the family is sent off to prison. Through long days at the prison, Marta tries to keep her faith. Will Marta ever be released from her HONORABLE PRISON?

1990

 Shades of Gray by  Carolyn Reeder  YA REE

At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a "traitor" because he refused to take part in the war.

1991

A Time of Troubles by  Pieter Van Raven 

Having crossed the country with his father during the Depression to find work in California, fourteen-year-old Roy encounters cruel exploitation by the Growers' Association of the desperate, impoverished people pouring into the state. 

1992

Stepping on the Cracks by  Mary Downing Hahn  j HAH

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.

1993

Morning Girl by  Michael Dorris j DOR

Morning Girl, who loves the day, and her younger brother Star Boy, who loves the night, take turns describing their life on an island in pre-Columbian America; in Morning Girl's last narrative, she witnesses the arrival of the first Europeans to her world.

1994

Bull Run by Paul Fleischman  YA FLE

Through the alternating viewpoints of 16 characters from various walks of life, readers gain insight into the first battle of the Civil War and into the nature of war in general. Poignant, dramatic cameos seamlessly woven together make for compelling historical fiction. 

1995

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury YA SAL

Tomikazu Nakaji's biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully, until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

1996

The Bomb by  Theodore Taylor YA TAY

In 1945, when the Americans liberate the Bikini Atoll from the Japanese, fourteen-year-old Sorry Rinamu does not realize that the next year he will lead a desperate effort to save his island home from a much more deadly threat.

1997

Jip, His Story  by Katherine Paterson j PAT

Jip can't understand why no one claimed him when he fell off a wagon as a child; but his good-hearted nature has led him to make a home out of a poor farm and its dubious residents. Now his fragile home is threatened when a stranger from outside wants to claim Jip as his son. What is the secret behind Jip's background? Paterson's novel deserves ongoing mention: while the conclusion may seem hasty after a long build-up, the focus on Jip's character and courage proves a compelling draw.

1998

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse YA HES (Newbery)

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental--and emotional--turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

1999

Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Gilliam Robinet YA ROB

Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Pascal's older brother Gideon returns to the plantation where the slaves still work, not realizing they have been freed. Pascal, Gideon, and another child, Nelly, set out to claim the 40 acres Gideon hears have been promised to freed slaves. Throughout the story the tension between the joy of freedom and the dangers of the enraged white southerners tugs at the characters as they farm their new land, attend school, and hear terrible stories.