Phoenix Award

The Phoenix Award annually recognizes one English-language children's book published twenty years earlier that did not then win a major literary award. It is named for the mythical bird phoenix that is reborn from its own ashes, signifying the book's rise from relative obscurity.[1]

The award was established and is conferred by the Children's Literature Association (ChLA), a nonprofit organization based in the United States whose mission is to advance "the serious study of children's literature". The winner is selected by an elected committee of five ChLA members, from nominations by members and outsiders. The token is a brass statue.[1]

The inaugural, 1985 Phoenix Award recognized The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff (Oxford, 1965). Beginning 1989, as many as two runners-up have been designated "Honor Books", with 34 named for the 29 years to 2017.[lower-alpha 1]

A parallel award for children's picture books, the Phoenix Picture Book Award was approved in 2010 and inaugurated in 2013. There are two awards if the writer and illustrator are different people. "Books are considered not only for the quality of their illustrations, but for the way pictures and text work together to tell a story (whether fact or fiction). Wordless books are judged on the ability of the pictures alone to convey a story."[2]

Latest rendition

The 33rd annual Phoenix Award and fifth Phoenix Picture Book Award were presented on June 24 2017 at the ChLA Annual Conference hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. The 2018 Phoenix Award winner has also been announced.[1] The awards are included in the tables below.

Phoenix Award winners

There have been 35 Award winners and 35 Honor Books announced since 1985 (1965 to 1998 publications).[1][3][4][5]

Phoenix Award 1985 to present[lower-alpha 1]
YearWinnerHonor Books
2020Carolyn Coman, Many Stones Walter Dean Myers, 145th Street: Short Stories
2019Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House Connie Porter, Imani All Mine
2018 Elizabeth Partridge, Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange
2017James Heneghan, Wish Me Luck Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks
Naomi Shihab Nye, Habibi
2016Andrew Clements, Frindle (none)
2015[1]Kyoko Mori, One Bird (none)
2014[6]Gary Soto, Jesse Graham Salisbury, Under the Blood Red Sun
2013[5][7]Gaye Hiçyilmaz, The Frozen Waterfall Walter Dean Myers, Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary
2012‡[4]Karen Hesse, Letters from Rifka Michael Dorris, Morning Girl
Frances Temple, Taste of Salt: A Story of Modern Haiti
2011‡Virginia Euwer Wolff, The Mozart Season Mary Downing Hahn, Stepping on the Cracks
Eloise McGraw, The Striped Ships
2010Rosemary Sutcliff, The Shining Company (none)
2009Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat Sylvia Cassedy, Lucie Babbidge’s House
2008‡Peter Dickinson, Eva Jane Yolen, The Devil's Arithmetic
2007Margaret Mahy, Memory Sheila Gordon, Waiting for the Rain
2006Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle Margaret Mahy, The Tricksters
Philip Pullman, The Shadow in the Plate (The Shadow in the North)
2005Margaret Mahy, The Catalogue of the Universe Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock
2004‡Berlie Doherty, White Peak Farm Brian Doyle, Angel Square
2003Ivan Southall, The Long Night Watch Cynthia Voigt, A Solitary Blue
2002‡Zibby Oneal, A Formal Feeling Clayton Bess, Story for a Black Night
2001‡Peter Dickinson, The Seventh Raven Kathryn Lasky, The Night Journey
2000‡Monica Hughes, Keeper of the Isis Light Jane Langton, The Fledgling
1999E.L. Konigsburg, Throwing Shadows Rosa Guy, The Disappearance
Ouida Sebestyen, Words by Heart
1998Jill Paton Walsh, A Chance Child Robin McKinley, Beauty
Doris Orgel, The Devil in Vienna
1997Robert Cormier, I Am the Cheese (none)
1996Alan Garner, The Stone Book William Steig, Abel's Island
1995Laurence Yep, Dragonwings Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
1994Katherine Paterson, Of Nightingales That Weep James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, My Brother Sam is Dead 
Sharon Bell Mathis, Listen for the Fig Tree
1993Nina Bawden, Carrie's War E.L. Konigsburg, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
1992Mollie Hunter, A Sound of Chariots (none)
1991Jane Gardam, A Long Way from Verona William Mayne, A Game of Dark
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan
1990Sylvia Engdahl, Enchantress from the Stars William Mayne, Ravensgill
Scott O'Dell, Sing Down the Moon
1989Helen Cresswell, The Night Watchmen Milton Meltzer, Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
Adrienne Richard, Pistol
1988Erik Christian Haugaard, The Rider and his Horse  Honor books were instituted in 1989.[1]
1987Leon Garfield, Smith
1986Robert J. Burch, Queenie Peavy
1985Rosemary Sutcliff, The Mark of the Horse Lord
‡ Seven acceptance speeches have been published online in one of two locations:[1][8] Monica Hughes, 2000; Peter Dickinson, 2001; Zibby Oneal, 2002; Berlie Doherty, 2004; Peter Dickinson, 2008; Virginia Euwer Wolff, 2011; Karen Hesse, 2012.

Multiple awards

Three writers each won two of the 31 Phoenix Awards through 2017.[3]

Mahy of New Zealand was also a runner up in 2006.

Several of the winners have also received the British Carnegie Medal for other books: Sutcliff (1959); Garner (1967); Garfield (1970); Southall (1971); Hunter (1974); Dickinson (1979, 1980); Mahy (1982, 1984); Doherty (1986, 1991).

Three of the winners have also won the American Newbery Medal for other books: Konigsburg (1968 and 1997); Paterson (1978, 1981); Hesse (1998).

Picture Book Award winners

There were five Phoenix Picture Book Award winners and seven Honor Books named for 2013 through 2017.[2]

The writer is listed first, the illustrator second if distinct.

Phoenix Picture Book Award, 2013 to present[2]
YearWinnerHonor Books
2019 Christopher Myers, Black Cat Amy Littlesuger and Floyd Cooper Tree of Hope
2018 Robert D. San Souci and Brian Pinkney, Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser, You Can’t Take A Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum
2017 Mary McKenna Siddals and Petra Mathers, Tell Me a Season Demi, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Tale
2016Molly Bang, Goose Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney, Sam and the Tigers
2015  Sara Fanelli, My Map Book  Charlotte Zolotow and Stefano Vitale, When the Wind Stops 
  (revised and newly illustrated, 1995)

Kady MacDonald Denton, Would They Love a Lion? 

2014[6]Raymond Briggs, The Bear Peggy Rathmann, Good Night, Gorilla

Anne Isaacs and Paul O. Zelinsky, Swamp Angel

2013[7]Kevin Henkes, Owen Denise Fleming, In the Small, Small Pond
When the Wind Stops, written by Zolotow and illustrated by Vitale (HarperCollins, 1995), "revised and newly illustrated" OCLC 731251488. When the Wind Stops, written by Zolotow and edited by Ursula Nordstrom, was published in 1962 with illustrations by Howard Knotts (New York: Harper & Row, OCLC 427201792) and by Joe Lasker (London: Abelard-Schuman, OCLC 680167163).

See also


  1. See multiple sources for identification of all winners and honor books 1985 to 2018 (as of June 2017): winners and honor books tables 1985 to 2009[9] brochure 1985 to 2012[3] top page archived 2012[4] top page archived 2013[5] newsletter 2012.2[7] newsletter 2013.2[6] current top page[1]


  1. "Phoenix Award" Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine (current top page). Children's Literature Association (ChLA). Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  2. "Phoenix Picture Book Award" Archived 2016-12-19 at the Wayback Machine. ChLA. 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  3. "The Phoenix Award" (brochure). ChLA. 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-24 and 2014-07-11.
  4. "Phoenix Award" (top page). ChLA. Archived 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  5. "Phoenix Award" (top page). ChLA. Archived 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
  6. ChLA Newsletter. Vol. 20, Issue 2 (Autumn 2013) Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. pp. 6–7. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
      Pages 2–7 comprise material related to the June 2014 annual conference.
  7. ChLA Newsletter. Vol. 19, Issue 2 (Autumn 2012) Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. p. 6. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
  8. "List of Phoenix Award Papers" (2000–2010). ChLA. Archived 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2014-07-13. The linked papers are not archived here (Internet Archive).
  9. "Previous Award and Honor Books Recipients" (1985–2009). ChLA. January 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
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