Kent State’s Reinberger Children’s Library Center Becomes New Home of Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction
The Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University has become the new home of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, assuming the role formerly held by the Center for Children’s Books at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
This prestigious honor joins other notable programs at the Reinberger, including the scholarly research resource the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art and the Jacqueline M. Albers Guest Scholar in Children’s Literature Fellowship. The O’Dell Award is further recognition of the strength of the School of Information’s academic programs, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as fifth in the nation for School Library Media Programs and ninth in the nation for School Services for Children and Youth.
“We are excited to partner with the O’Dell family to continue their support of authors who write in the historical fiction genre for youth. With an outstanding team of youth services faculty backing its efforts, the iSchool’s Reinberger Center has a strong track record of honoring and celebrating acclaimed authors and illustrators. We are well-positioned to successfully manage, celebrate, and support the award and its criteria and continue Scott O’Dell’s legacy,” said Reinberger Director, Michelle Baldini.
Baldini will serve as one of the new committee members, with iSchool colleague, Mary Anne Nichols as chair. Nichols, an award-winning educator and author, has served on American Library Association (ALA) award/selection committees such as, Excellence in Non-Fiction Award Committee, Margaret A. Edwards Committee, Grolier Award Committee, Popular Paperbacks for Teens and others. Since 2007, she has served on the Virginia Hamilton Advisory Board, the longest running conference on multicultural literature for youth and served on the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award from 2010-1018.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the Scott O’Dell Award and it's exciting to see it move to the Reinberger, where it can continue to honor history and to make it anew,” said Deborah Stevenson, past O’Dell Committee Award Chair.
Established in 1982, the annual award of $5,000 goes to an author of an historical fiction novel for children published in the previous year and set in South, Central or North America. Continuing her commitment to her late husband and his work, Elizabeth Hall and the O’Dell family have participated in the annual American Library Association (ALA) annual conference award presentations over the years, and they continue to administer and fund the award.
“When my grandfather established the Scott O’Dell Award, it was very important to him to encourage authors of historical fiction to write for children and expand the genre. His own contributions as a writer of historical fiction for youth were significant, and our family is thrilled to know the Scott O’Dell Award will be in the capable and expert hands of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center. We look forward to working with the new Scott O’Dell Award committee members, and we thank Deborah Stevenson, Roger Sutton, and Betty Bush for their many years of dedication,” said Lauren Anderson Gerber, O’Dell estate representative and granddaughter of Scott O’Dell.