Doing the Happy Dance in my Longjohns


I have a wee bit of news to share.

CHAINS is the winner of the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here is the formal language: “Laurie Halse Anderson has won the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Chains (S&S, October 2008), narrated by teenaged Isabel Finch during the Revolutionary War. Although Isabel and her enslaved five-year-old sister were to be freed upon the death of their mistress, the woman’s heir sells the siblings to a new owner in New York City–that is the first of the betrayals that lie ahead, but also the beginning of Isabel’s fight for freedom. The award, established by O’Dell (best known as the author of The Island of the Blue Dolphins), is given annually to a meritorious work of historical fiction and includes a $5,000 prize.Chains was also a National Book Award Finalist, just like Anderson’s debut novel, Speak(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999).”

I found out Friday night and have been walking around with my hands clenched over my mouth ever since because I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody. I formally apologize to my writer’s group for not even telling them. I offer to make cake for our next meeting as my penance. Or bread. I’m better at bread than cake. (Paging Marie Antoinette…)

This is an unbelievable honor – one that I never imagined my work would receive. It feels delicious and bubbly and affirming and huzzah! huzzah! The hardest part is I want to tell Isabel and it takes so long for letters to reach the 18th century!

OK, I’m pretty much not capable of forming any other complete sentences.

Except for THANK YOU!!!!

68 Replies to “Doing the Happy Dance in my Longjohns”

  1. Huzzah!!!!

    Oh, Laurie, I’m so excited about this – what a well-earned honor. This week, my 7th graders will be writing letters through time to Isabel and Curzon to tell them about Obama’s inauguration. We’ll be sure to mention the Scott O’Dell Award, too.

    Many, many happy congratulations!

  2. Huzzah! Huzzah!

    Congrats. I am currently joining you in the happy dance.

    Also, side note, thank you for spelling “squee” as you did. I know people who add an “l” to it at the end and this bothers me.


  3. That’s completely awesome. Congratulations, and you deserved it!!

    On a side note, I’d love to know how you found your writing group (and apologies if you’ve already covered this topic–I’ve only been lurking for a few months).

  4. WOO HOO for you! What a wonderful honor for a wonderful, well-researched and beautifully written book. Congrats!


  5. Oh wow, what WONDERFUL news! I can only imagine how hard it must have been not to tell anyone. I would have had to go sit in a closet the entire time.

  6. I’m chanelling Isabel and she says


    And what a great day for us to hear this!!!!!! From Isabel to Obama.

    O.K., what are you wearing to the ceremony?

    I am so very proud of you!!!

  7. Holy crap! That’s so awesome! *showers you with earth-friendly, biodegradable confetti*

    You deserve it, Laurie. I plan on sending this to my niece (she’s only six now, but she’ll have it for when she’s older). You can never start too young!

    I hope this is only the start of the wonderful-ness the year has in store for you.

  8. Congratulations!!! And C is going to be thrilled because she choose your book CHAINS to read for her current Language Arts assignment. She’s going to feel pretty ahead of the curve. 🙂

    Much deserved, Laurie. You rock!

  9. We Thank YOU

    Congratulations! Today after the NYS ELA 7th grade exam, Kate Messner announced your award to the students seated in the auditorium. The students broke out in spontaneous applause – it was so precious – they truly love your work.
    My class is reading Chains in a literature-based slavery unit in February and are so excited. (So am I, your writing is impeccable!)
    Again – congratulations…I’m sure we’ll be hearing more announcements regarding this title.
    Thank you for sharing Isabel’s story with us.

  10. praise for Speak

    I recently read Speak and I was impressed with the examination of things we don’t say as opposed to the things we say. If we all had the courage to say what we were thinking, to speak up for ourselves, life might be different for most people. Teens are particularly vulnerable to fading into the background and how many times have we read that we must give our girls a “voice?” Thank you Ms. Anderson, not only for sharing Melinda’s story with us, but for giving her the nerve to tell it.

  11. Oh come on don’t be shy you deserve this

    Theres a zillion subjects you could write about for the teen market and yet you pick really tough subjects that zillions of teens every day (or— like CHAINS— need to be aware of)

  12. edited too much
    I MEANT to say this—

    Theres a zillion subjects you could write about for the teen market and yet you pick really tough subjects that zillions of teens FACE every day
    (or— like CHAINS—subjects they need to be aware of)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.