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John Steptoe Award for New Talent

The John Steptoe Award is given to a black author and a black illustrator beginning his/her career. It is awarded annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the Social Responsabilities Round Table of the American Library Association.

2011 - Author
Victoria Bon and T. R. Simon. Zora and Me
A fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston's childhood with her best friend Carrie, in Eatonville, Florida, as they learn about life, death, and the differences between truth, lies, and pretending. Includes an annotated bibliography of the works of Zora Neale Hurston, a short biography of the author, and information about Eatonville, Florida.
2011 - Illustrator
Sonia Lynn Sadler, Illustrator. Seeds of Change
Written by Jen Cullerton Johnson
kekla magoon. The Rock and the River
In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father's nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.


Shadra Strickland, Illustrator.  Bird

Written by Zetta Elliott. Bird, an artistic young African American boy, expresses himself through drawing as he struggles to understand his older brother's drug addiction and death, while a family friend, Uncle Son, provides guidance and understanding.


Sundee T. Frazier.  Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything

In It   Brendan Buckley, a biracial ten-year-old, applies his scientific problem-solving ability and newfound interest in rocks and minerals to connect with his white grandfather, the president of Puyallup Rock Club, and to learn why he and Brendan's mother are estranged.


Traci L. Jones.  Standing Against the Wind

As she tries to escape her poor Chicago neighborhood by winning a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, shy and studious eighth-grader Patrice discovers that she has more options in life than she previously realized.


Author - Jaime Adoff.  Jimi & Me

After his father's tragic death, twelve-year-old Keith James moves from Brooklyn to a small midwestern town where his mixed race heritage is not accepted, but he finds comfort in the music of Jimi Hendrix and the friendship of a white classmate.


Author - Barbara Hathaway.  Missy Violet and Me

During the early 1900s, eleven-year-old Viney spends her summer working for the local midwife and learns firsthand about birth, death, and "catchin' babies."


Illustrator - Frank Morrison.  Jazzy Miz Mozetta

On a beautiful evening, Miz Mozetta puts on her red dress and blue shoes and dances the jitterbug just like she did many years before.


Author - Hope Anita Smith.  The Way a Door Closes

collection of poems about a young man's struggle to accept a father who has abandoned his family.


Illustrator - Elbrite Brown.  My Family Plays Music

A musical family with talents for playing a variety of instruments enjoys getting together to celebrate.

Author - Janet McDonald. Chill Wind
Afraid that she will have no where to go when her welfare checks are stopped, nineteen-year-old high school dropout Aisha tries to figure out how she can support herself and her two young children in New York City.


Illustrator - Randy DuBruke. The Moon Ring
One hot night, Maxine goes on a wild adventure thanks to the magic of the blue moon.
Illustrator - Jerome Lagarrigue with text by Deborah Wiles.
Freedom Summer   In 1964, Joe is pleased that a new law will allow his best friend John Henry, who is colored, to share the town pool and other public places with him, but he is dismayed to find that prejudice still exists.
No award given.
No award given.
Author - Sharon Flake. The Skin I'm In
Thirteen-year-old Maleeka, uncomfortable because her skin is extremely dark, meets a new teacher with a birthmark on her face and makes some discoveries about how to love who she is and what she looks like.


Illustrator - Eric Velasquez with text by Debbie Chocolate. The
Piano Man   A young Afro-American girl recalls the life story of her grandfather who performed in vaudeville and played piano for the silent movies.
No award given.
Martha Southgate. Another Way to Dance
While spending the summer at the School of American Ballet in New York City, fourteen-year-old Vicki Harris must come to terms with the reality of her parents' divorce, her crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov, and the impact of being an African American on her future as a dancer.
No award given.
Sharon Draper. Tears of a Tiger
The death of high school basketball star Rob Washington in an automobile accident affects the lives of his close friend Andy, who was driving the car, and many others in the school.