2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Norvelt 2012 Scott ODell Award for Historical FictionThe 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Jack Gantos for Dead End in Norvelt, published by Farrar Straus Giroux. The award, created by Scott O’Dell and Zena Sutherland in 1982 and now administered by Elizabeth Hall, carries with it a prize of $5000, and goes to the author of a distinguished work of historical fiction for young people, published by a U. S. publisher; and set in South, Central, or North America. The award committee (Ann Carlson, Oak Park-River Forest High School; Deborah Stevenson, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books; and chair Roger Sutton, The Horn Book) commended Dead End in Norvelt not only for the book’s evocation of 1962 Norvelt, Pennsylvania (a planned farmstead community created in the 1930s and named for its biggest booster, Eleanor Roosevelt) but for its hero, the mischievously named Jack Gantos. Jack’s life and imagination are rich in history: the town’s, as Jack discovers pieces of his local heritage while assisting the newspaper’s obituarist, Miss Volker; and the world’s, with Jack immersed in Landmark biographies and dreams of Atahualpa. In Jack’s own time, the Space Race and the Cold War march on; weighty matters indeed, but here pressed into service for the funniest book the O’Dell Award has yet honored.

Mr. Gantos will be given the award at some time and place later this spring; meanwhile, please join me in congratulating him. (When I spoke to him yesterday, Jack was on the road in Texas, and after a minute of stunned silence he said he was going to celebrate by eating a bunch of snacks. And when I told Elizabeth Hall about the committee’s decision and a bit about Jack, she replied, “sounds like my kind of guy.”)

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Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

Comments

  1. I must be the only person who didn’t care for that book. At its end I kept wondering why the characters didn’t seem particularly upset about the ways and whys of all those deaths; no outcry or outrage.

  2. Excellent news! Kudos to Jack and the members of the Committee.

  3. Angus Killick says:

    Such tremendous news. Thank you O’Dell committee for selecting such a delightful, entertaining novel – may tise award attract even more readers to the unique world of Gantos’ Norvelt. Big congrats Mr. Gantos!

  4. Angus Killick says:

    Such tremendous news. Thank you O’Dell committee for selecting such a delightful, entertaining novel – may this award attract even more readers to the unique world of Gantos’ Norvelt. Big congrats Mr. Gantos!

  5. Great news! Three cheers for a fantastic book and three cheers for Jack! Congratulations on a superb choice.

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  1. [...] 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, by Roger Sutton – “The 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Jack [...]

  2. [...] Scott O’Dell Awards honors Jack Gantos’ DEAD END IN NORVELT. Some say it’s not historical fiction-y enough. I say, so [...]

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