After completing his studies at various universities in the United States, he moved to Italy to complete his humanistic training at the University of Rome. After being mobilized to intervene in the warlike conflicts of his time, he settled in his native country like ranchero, activity that soon left to dedicate itself to the culture of the literature and the writing of newspaper articles.
His collaborations in the press, destined to adult readers, appeared in Los Angeles Mirror, where it was columnist, and in Los Angeles Daily News, medium in which it exerted of redactor. However, he would also leave journalism to devote himself entirely to children’s literature.
Thus, in 1960 he gave to the press The Island of the Blue Dolphins, a novel in which narrated the peripecia (based on a real fact) of Karana, a young Indian that survived during eighteen years in a deserted island. The work, which was immediately successful and overflowing (later amplified by the film version that was made in 1964), was awarded in 1961 with the Newbery medal, a prestigious distinction awarded to the most outstanding works among those aimed at children and youth.
Subsequently, another three books of Scott O’Dell were chosen “Books of Honor” by the jury of the Newbery prizes. This is The Fifth Real (1966), The Black Pearl (1967), which also had a version for the big screen, and The Song of the Moon (1970), works that have in common its ascription to the subgenre of historical fiction, without losing its condition of stories intended for younger readers. In addition to these distinctions, in 1972 Scott O’Dell received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in recognition of all his work published until then.
The good reception given to his later novels decisively oriented O’Dell’s writing to the realm of historical fiction, in which he left many other brilliant accounts, such as the novels entitled Sarah Bishop (1980), set in the American War of Secession 1775-1883), Streams to the River, River to the Sea (1986), which chronicles the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and The Snake Never Sleeps (1987), which captures the story of the Indian princess Pocahontas.
In addition, Scott O’Dell wrote a trilogy on the conquest and colonization of America by the Spaniards, composed by the novels the captive (1979), the serpent with feathers (1981) and the amethyst ring (1983). In 1981 the Center of Children’s Books created the O’Dell Prize of historical fiction, distinction with which it was awarded the own author in 1986. To learn more about the biography of famous people, visit Biography Desk.