The 2022 Scott O’Dell Award winner is Justina Ireland for Ophie’s Ghosts. The annual award of $5,000 goes to an author for a meritorious book published in the previous year for children or young adults.
Ophie is twelve when she sees a ghost for the first time: her father’s spirit warns her to leave Georgia with her mother after he has been murdered by white men. She and her mother find shelter with family in Pittsburgh, in 1922 only slightly more welcoming than Georgia to Black people, and take jobs as maids at Daffodil Manor, owned by a tyrannical elderly white lady. There Ophie meets a household full of new people, and she realizes that some of those people are ghosts, who offer glimpses into the household’s (and the nation’s) troubled history. One, in particular, strikes a chord with Ophie, who begins to suspect that the truth about this spirit’s mysterious death may reveal a terrible secret at the heart of Daffodil Manor.