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A long-time member of the American Nature Study Society, Eva L. Gordon was honored a year following her death in 1962 when the American Nature Study Society (ANSS) Board of Directors established the Eva L. Gordon Award for Excellence in Children’s Science Literature.

Eva L. Gordon was a pioneer in writing children’s’ science literature having co-authored two primary grade textbooks of nature stories long before science for young children existed. These books were based on her first-hand knowledge of the outdoors and her experience teaching first and second graders in the public schools in Milwaukee WI. These two modest books, entitled Fall and Autumn, beautifully demonstrated the twin requirements for good authorship – knowledge of the topic and the reader.

It was following these early achievements that Eva Gordon entered Cornell University as an undergraduate where she stayed on after completion of her master’s degree to influence several generations of future teachers and writers. As one of the two women on the College of Agriculture faculty, she became so involved with her classes and students that she had little time for writing herself. Some of her creative energy went into reviewing books and she guided her students in judging, selecting and using the books. To the budding writers among them she taught skills and techniques.

Eva L. Gordon was caring human being and a great teacher. Among her greatest satisfactions was seeing some of her students carry forward the torch she lit. It seemed most appropriate to honor her by honoring excellence in writing for children. Some of the recipients for the Eva L. Gordon Award were Eva’s students and friends in ANSS.

Award Criteria

All of the award winners met her high standards as expressed in the following criteria.

  • Does the author open new doors to adventure?
  • Does the author develop good attitudes?
  • Does the author build understanding of interrelationships?
  • Does the author encourage children to make their own scientific observations?
  • Are the author’s writings accurate, readable and have a quality of joyousness?
  • Do the author’s writings relate to many kinds of 20th Century situations?

The Eva L. Gordon Award for Excellence in Children’s Science Literature has been given to the following authors

  • 1964 Millicent Selsam
  • 1965 Edwin Way Teale
  • 1966 Robert McClung
  • 1970 Jean Craighead George
  • 1971 Verne Rockcastle
  • 1974 Phyllis Busch
  • 1975 Jeanne Bendick
  • 1976 Helen Ross Russell
  • 1977 Herman & Nina Schneider
  • 1978 George Mason & Dorothy Shuttlesworth
  • 1979 Ross Hutchins
  • 1980 Glenn O. Baugh
  • 1981 Herbert Zim
  • 1982 Peter Parnell
  • 1983 Laurence Pringle
  • 1984 Seymour Simon
  • 1985 Vicki Cobb
  • 1986 Dorothy Henshaw Patent
  • 1987 Patricia Lauber
  • 1988 Franklin M. Branley
  • 1989 Ada & Frank Graham
  • 1990 Joanna Cole & Jim Arnosky
  • 1992 Byrd Baylor
  • 1993 Augusta Goldin
  • 1994 Eric Carle
  • 1995 Joanna Ryder
  • 1996 David McCauley
  • 1997 Gail Gibbon
  • 1998 Marge Facklam
  • 1999 Bruce Hiscock