Phoenix Award

chla 27The Children's Literature Association, an organization of teachers, scholars, librarians, editors, writers, illustrators, and parents interested in encouraging the serious study of children's literature, created the Phoenix Award as an outgrowth of the Association's Touchstones Committee. The award, given to a book originally published in the English language, is intended to recognize books of high literary merit. The Phoenix Award is named after the fabled bird who rose from its ashes with renewed life and beauty. Phoenix books also rise from the ashes of neglect and obscurity and once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.

The recipient of the Phoenix Award has been chosen each year since 1985 by an elected committee of ChLA members that considers nominations made by members and others interested in promoting high critical standards in literature for children. Honor books were instituted in 1989 but have not been named every year.

The Phoenix Award was designed by Caldecott-winning illustrator Trina Schart Hyman. The magical Phoenix on the award statue was specifically drawn for ChLA. The design was sculpted by Diane Davis, who was trained at the Johnson Atelier and Technical Institute of Sculpture, Princeton. Each brass statue is individually cast and inscribed with the year's winner.

In 2003, the ChLA launched an annual electronic journal, The Phoenix Award Papers. Each issue includes conference papers on the year's Phoenix Award book and Honor book, and the acceptance speech (when available) by the award winner. The Phoenix Papers are available exclusively online through the Phoenix Papers page.


The Children's Literature Association Proudly Announces the 2014 Phoenix Award Recipient:

Jesse
Gary Soto
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994

Gary Soto’s Jesse is both a coming-of-age story of one Mexican-American boy with a poetic sensibility, and the story of a community and a country at a difficult time—facing poverty and prejudice and war, problems we are still facing today. Jesse offers an unembellished slice of life in Vietnam-era Fresno, California. In the backdrop are Governor Reagan, President Nixon, and Cesar Chavez. In the foreground are 17-year-old Jesse, his older brother Abel, and their family and friends. To escape an increasingly drunk and violent stepfather, Jesse leaves high school six months before graduating, moves into an apartment with his brother, and enrolls at a junior college. To afford rent and food, Jesse and Abel work cotton and fruit fields, collect discarded items to sell at garage sales, and do laundry at their mother’s home. Their life is often bleak, especially when they least expect it: a planned spring break trip to Pismo Beach ends in cold and misery as they camp by the side of the road, unable to find rides; and a rare date for inexperienced Jesse ends up in a confrontation with a high school bully. Friendships with single mom Glenda and with Leslie, an artistically talented Vietnam veteran-classmate of Jesse’s, bring them some comfort; and Glenda’s mom and baby as well as Jesse’s naïveté provide poignant humor. The power of this book lies in Jesse’s response to a life where “no one was smiling and no one was getting up to set the crooked world straight.”

Honor Book for 2014:
Under the Blood-Red Sun
Graham Salisbury
Delacorte, 1994

Graham Salisbury’s gripping adventure explores a range of feelings at a time of terror and uncertainty. Tomi’s life in 1941 Hawaii has its ups and downs. His crotchety grandfather’s Japanese patriotism frequently embarrasses the eighth-grader. Encounters with a local bully are balanced against the pleasures of baseball and of fishing on his father’s boat with his best friend. Pearl Harbor changes everything. His grandfather’s attachment to Japan now looks not just embarrassing but dangerous. The bully starts spying on Tomi’s family, carrying a rifle as he watches. Worst of all, his father is arrested as a possible spy because of his fishing activities, and his mother loses her job as a maid because she is Japanese. Tomi needs all of his courage and ingenuity to help his family survive in the face of intense anti-Japanese prejudice.  Fortunately, in Salisbury’s sensitive portrayal, some children and adults make choices that transcend the mass hysteria of that time.




Phoenix Award Brochure (lists current and past award recipients; for more information, please see pdf below)

Previous Award and Honor Books Recipients (please see pdf below)

Phoenix Award Recipient Speeches
Karen Hesse (2012)

Virginia Euwer Wolff (2011)

Peter Dickinson (2008) (Please see pdf below)

Berlie Doherty (2004) (Please see pdf below)

Zibby Oneal (2002) (Please see pdf below)

Peter Dickinson (2001) (Please see pdf below)

Monica Hughes (2000) (Please see pdf below)

updated 1 day ago

But Mary Poppins‘s eyes were fixed upon him, and Michael suddenly discovered that you could not look at Mary Poppins and disobey her. There was something strange and extraordinary about her—something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting. (P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, 1934) "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what‘s the fist thing you say to yourself?" "What‘s for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" "I say, I wonder what‘s going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It‘s the same thing," he said. (A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926) The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, he top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. (Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting, 1975) My cousin comes to visit and you know he‘s from the South ‘Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth I like the way he whistles and I like the way he walks But honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the way he talks (Eloise Greenfield, from "Honey, I Love," Honey, I love and other love poems, 1978) They tell you to do your thing but they don‘t mean it. They don‘t want you to do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too. It‘s a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don‘t disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say. (Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War, 1974) There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows 1908) "My darling child!... Where in the world did you come from?" "From the Land of Oz," said Dorothy gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I‘m so glad to be at home again!" (L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900) It was a dark and stormy night. (Madeleine L‘Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, 1962) When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, when Jamie saw Van throw his baby sister Nin, then they moved. (Carolyn Coman, What Jamie Saw, 1995) Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It‘s one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they‘re the four hugest words in the world when they‘re put together. You can do it. (Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 2007) When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle‘s on a poodle and the poodle‘s eating noodles... (Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks 1965) Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you‘d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn‘t hold with such nonsense. (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone, 1997) She knew they were all afraid. But love and disease are both like electricity, Weetzie thought. They are always there—you can‘t see or smell or hear, touch, or taste them, but you know they are there like a current in the air. We can choose, Weetzie thought, we can choose to plug into the love current instead. (Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat 1989) "Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything‘s got a moral, if only you can find it." (Lewis Carroll, Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland 1865) "Yes, it‘s very wicked to lie," said Pippi even more sadly. "But I forget it now and then. And how can you expect a little child whose mother is an angel and whose father is king of a cannibal island and who herself has sailed on the ocean all her life—how can you expect her to tell the truth always?" (Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking, 1950) TWINKLE, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are ! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. (Ann and Jane Taylor, from "The Star," Rhymes from the Nursery, 1806) "Where‘s papa going with that ax?" (E. B. White, Charlotte‘s Web 1952) "You‘ve started quite a career for yourself, Nancy. I wonder if you‘ll have any more adventures?" Nancy gave a tired sigh. "Oh, I think I‘ve had enough to last me for the rest of my life!" But in heart heart, she knew she had not. The love for mystery would always be with her. (Carolyn Keene, The Bungalow Mystery 1930) HOW doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! (Isaac Watts, from "Against Idleness and Mischief, Divine Songs for Children, 1715)Take some time daily to speak a little to your children one by one about their miserable condition by nature…. They are not too little to die… not too little to go to hell. — James Janeway, A Token for Children (1671-2) But Mary Poppins‘s eyes were fixed upon him, and Michael suddenly discovered that you could not look at Mary Poppins and disobey her. There was something strange and extraordinary about her—something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting. (P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, 1934) "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what‘s the fist thing you say to yourself?" "What‘s for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" "I say, I wonder what‘s going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It‘s the same thing," he said. (A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926) The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, he top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. (Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting, 1975) My cousin comes to visit and you know he‘s from the South ‘Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth I like the way he whistles and I like the way he walks But honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the way he talks (Eloise Greenfield, from "Honey, I Love," Honey, I love and other love poems, 1978) They tell you to do your thing but they don‘t mean it. They don‘t want you to do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too. It‘s a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don‘t disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say. (Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War, 1974) There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows 1908) "My darling child!... Where in the world did you come from?" "From the Land of Oz," said Dorothy gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I‘m so glad to be at home again!" (L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900) It was a dark and stormy night. (Madeleine L‘Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, 1962) When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, when Jamie saw Van throw his baby sister Nin, then they moved. (Carolyn Coman, What Jamie Saw, 1995) Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It‘s one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they‘re the four hugest words in the world when they‘re put together. You can do it. (Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 2007) When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle‘s on a poodle and the poodle‘s eating noodles... (Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks 1965) Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you‘d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn‘t hold with such nonsense. (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone, 1997) She knew they were all afraid. But love and disease are both like electricity, Weetzie thought. They are always there—you can‘t see or smell or hear, touch, or taste them, but you know they are there like a current in the air. We can choose, Weetzie thought, we can choose to plug into the love current instead. (Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat 1989) "Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything‘s got a moral, if only you can find it." (Lewis Carroll, Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland 1865) "Yes, it‘s very wicked to lie," said Pippi even more sadly. "But I forget it now and then. And how can you expect a little child whose mother is an angel and whose father is king of a cannibal island and who herself has sailed on the ocean all her life—how can you expect her to tell the truth always?" (Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking, 1950) TWINKLE, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are ! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. (Ann and Jane Taylor, from "The Star," Rhymes from the Nursery, 1806) "Where‘s papa going with that ax?" (E. B. White, Charlotte‘s Web 1952) "You‘ve started quite a career for yourself, Nancy. I wonder if you‘ll have any more adventures?" Nancy gave a tired sigh. "Oh, I think I‘ve had enough to last me for the rest of my life!" But in heart heart, she knew she had not. The love for mystery would always be with her. (Carolyn Keene, The Bungalow Mystery 1930) HOW doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! (Isaac Watts, from "Against Idleness and Mischief, Divine Songs for Children, 1715)Take some time daily to speak a little to your children one by one about their miserable condition by nature…. They are not too little to die… not too little to go to hell. — James Janeway, A Token for Children (1671-2) But Mary Poppins‘s eyes were fixed upon him, and Michael suddenly discovered that you could not look at Mary Poppins and disobey her. There was something strange and extraordinary about her—something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting. (P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, 1934) "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what‘s the fist thing you say to yourself?" "What‘s for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" "I say, I wonder what‘s going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It‘s the same thing," he said. (A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926) The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, he top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. (Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting, 1975) My cousin comes to visit and you know he‘s from the South ‘Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth I like the way he whistles and I like the way he walks But honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the way he talks (Eloise Greenfield, from "Honey, I Love," Honey, I love and other love poems, 1978) They tell you to do your thing but they don‘t mean it. They don‘t want you to do your thing, not unless it happens to be their thing, too. It‘s a laugh, Goober, a fake. Don‘t disturb the universe, Goober, no matter what the posters say. (Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War, 1974) There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows 1908) "My darling child!... Where in the world did you come from?" "From the Land of Oz," said Dorothy gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I‘m so glad to be at home again!" (L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900) It was a dark and stormy night. (Madeleine L‘Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, 1962) When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, when Jamie saw Van throw his baby sister Nin, then they moved. (Carolyn Coman, What Jamie Saw, 1995) Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult? Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody? It‘s one of the simplest sentences in the world, just four words, but they‘re the four hugest words in the world when they‘re put together. You can do it. (Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 2007) When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle‘s on a poodle and the poodle‘s eating noodles... (Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks 1965) Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you‘d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn‘t hold with such nonsense. (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone, 1997) She knew they were all afraid. But love and disease are both like electricity, Weetzie thought. They are always there—you can‘t see or smell or hear, touch, or taste them, but you know they are there like a current in the air. We can choose, Weetzie thought, we can choose to plug into the love current instead. (Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat 1989) "Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything‘s got a moral, if only you can find it." (Lewis Carroll, Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland 1865) "Yes, it‘s very wicked to lie," said Pippi even more sadly. "But I forget it now and then. And how can you expect a little child whose mother is an angel and whose father is king of a cannibal island and who herself has sailed on the ocean all her life—how can you expect her to tell the truth always?" (Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking, 1950) TWINKLE, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are ! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. (Ann and Jane Taylor, from "The Star," Rhymes from the Nursery, 1806) "Where‘s papa going with that ax?" (E. B. White, Charlotte‘s Web 1952) "You‘ve started quite a career for yourself, Nancy. I wonder if you‘ll have any more adventures?" Nancy gave a tired sigh. "Oh, I think I‘ve had enough to last me for the rest of my life!" But in heart heart, she knew she had not. The love for mystery would always be with her. (Carolyn Keene, The Bungalow Mystery 1930) HOW doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! (Isaac Watts, from "Against Idleness and Mischief, Divine Songs for Children, 1715)Take some time daily to speak a little to your children one by one about their miserable condition by nature…. They are not too little to die… not too little to go to hell. — James Janeway, A Token for Children (1671-2)