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Children’s Literature Association Announces 2011 Phoenix Award Winner

Virginia Euwer Wolff, the author of The Mozart Season (Holt), is the winner of the 1991/2011 Phoenix Award, given to the author of a book for children published originally in English that did not win a major award at the time of its publication twenty years earlier. The award was announced at the annual conference of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA), an organization encouraging high standards of criticism, scholarship, research, and teaching in children’s literature.

The Mozart Season observes a summer in which young violinist Allegra Shapiro prepares for a major instrumental competition and explores her place in relation to the expectations her parents, her teacher, her friends, some interesting new acquaintances and she, herself, place on her.

The Phoenix Award is named after the fabled bird that 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 Award will be presented at the 2011 Children’s Literature Association Conference, to be held at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, June 23-25, 2011. Both Wolff and her editor will be in attendance.

Two Phoenix Honor Book Award winners were named: Mary Downing Hahn, for Stepping on the Cracks (Clarion/Houghton) and Eloise McGraw, for The Striped Ships (McElderry).

The Children’s Literature Association created the Phoenix Award as an outgrowth of its Touchstones Committee. The recipient of the award has been chosen each year since 1985 by an elected committee of Association members who consider nominations made by members and others interested in promoting high critical standards in literature for children. This year’s Award committee included; Leona Fisher, Chair, Georgetown University; Barbara C. Garner, Carleton University (emerita); Christine Jenkins, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Judith Plotz, George Washington University (emerita); and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Pennsylvania State University.

More information about the Children’s Literature Association, and a complete list of Phoenix Award winners, can be found on the Association’s web site:

Volume 14, Issue 2, The Looking Glass, May/June, 2010

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

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