Coretta Scott King Award

The Coretta Scott King Award commemorates the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his widow Coretta Scott King. It is awarded annually to authors and illustrators of African descent whose work promotes the "American Dream." It is sponsored by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.

gone crazy in alabama

2016 Author
Rita Williams-Garcia. Gone Crazy in Alabama

Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles's half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven't spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that's been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

trombone shorty

2016 Illustrator
Bryan Collier. Trombone Shorty

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.

brown girl dreaming

2015 Author
Jacqueline Woodson. Brown Girl Dreaming

The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South.

firebird bookjacket 2015 Illustrator
Christopher Myers. Firebird

American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that some day, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too. Includes author's note about dancers who led her to find her voice.

2014 Author
Rita Williams-Garcia. P.S. Be Eleven

The Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn, where they adapt to new feelings of independence while managing changes large and small, from Pa's new girlfriend to a very different Uncle Darnell's return from Vietnam.

2014 Illustrator
Bryan Collier. Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me

A boy wakes up one morning to find his father gone. At first, he feels lost. But his father has left him a letter filled with advice to guide him through the times he cannot be there.
2013 Author
Andrea Davis Pinkney. Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Presents the stories of ten African-American men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day.
2013 Illustrator
Bryan Collier. I, Too, Am American

Presents the popular poem by Langston Hughes, highlighting the courage and dignity of the African American Pullman porters in the early twentieth century.
2012 Author
Kadir Nelson. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
A simple introduction to African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama. Includes a timeline.
 
2012 Illustrator
Shane Evans. Underground

A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nighttime journey punctuated by meetings with friends and enemies, and their final glorious arrival in a place of freedom.

2011 Author
Rita Williams-Garcia. One Crazy Summer

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

2011 Illustrator

Bryan Collier. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

Chronicles the life of Dave, a nineteenth-century slave who went on to become an influential poet, artist, and potter.

2010 Author
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal

This biography profiles the life of Bass Reeves, a former slave who was recruited as a deputy United States Marshal in the area that was to become Oklahoma.

2010 Illustrator
Charles R. Smith Jr. My People

Written by Langston Hughes. Hughes's sparce yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Smith interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.

2009 Author
Kadir Nelson.  We Are the Ship


Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson.

2009 Illustrator
Floyd Cooper, Illustrator.  The Blacker the Berry


Written by Joyce Carol Thomas.  A collection of poems, including "Golden Goodness," "Cranberry Red," and "Biscuit Brown," celebrating individuality and Afro-American identity.

2008 Author
Christopher Paul Curtis.  Elijah of Buxton

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

2008 Illustrator
Ashley Bryan.  Let It Shine

Illustrated versions of three well-known hymns.

2007 Author
Sharon Draper.  Copper Sun

Identifies the stressors that can affect teens and provides suggestions for dealing with them. Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

2007 Illustrator
Kadir Nelson.  Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

Tells the story of Harriet Tubman leading slaves to freedom in the North and the courage that it took.

2006 Author
Julius Lester.  Day of Tears:  A Novel in Dialogue

Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave "assets", possibly including Emma.

2006 Illustrator
Bryan Collier.  Rosa

The story of Rosa Parks and her courageous act of defiance.

2005 Author
Toni Morrison.  Remember:  The Journey to School Integration

Presents a pictorial guide to depict the historical events surrounding school desegregation and tells a fictional account of the dialogue and emotions of the children during this time.

2005 Illustrator
Kadir Nelson.  Ellington Was Not a Street

A poem about the African American community of talented artists that frequented the author's childhood home.

2004 Author
Angela Johnson.  The First Part Last

With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson tells the story of a teen father's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it.

2004 Illustrator
Ashley Bryan.  The Beautiful Blackbird

In a story of the Ila people, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew."

2003 Author
Nikki Grimes. Bronx Masquerade

While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they've written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.

2003 Illustrator
E. B. Lewis. Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

A biography of the woman who became the first licensed Afro-American pilot.

2002 Author
Mildred Taylor. The Land

After the Civil War Paul, the son of a white father and a black mother, finds himself caught between the two worlds of colored folks and white folks as he pursues his dream of owning land of his own.

2002 Illustrator
Jerry Pinkney with text by Patricia McKissack. Goin' Someplace Special

In segregated 1950s Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library.

2001 Author
Jacqueline Woodson. Miracle's Boys

Twelve-year-old Lafayette's close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.

2001 Illustrator
Bryan Collier. Uptown

A tour of the sights of Harlem, including the Metro-North Train, brownstones, shopping on 125th Street, a barbershop, summer basketball, the Harlem Boys Choir, and sunset over the Harlem River.

2000 Author
Christopher Paul Curtis. Bud, Not Buddy

Ten-year-old Bud , a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

2000 Illustrator
Brian Pinkney with text by Kim L. Siegelson. In the Time of the Drums

Mentu, an American-born slave boy, watches his beloved grandmother, Twi, lead the insurrection at Teakettle Creek of Ibo people arriving from Africa on a slave ship.

1999 Author
Angela Johnson. Heaven

Fourteen-year-old Marley's seemingly perfect life in the small town of Heaven is disrupted when she discovers that her father and mother are not her real parents.

1999 Illustrator
Michele Wood with text by Toyomi Igus. i see the rhythm

Chronicles and captures poetically the history, mood, and movement of African American music.

1998 Author
Sharon M. Draper. Forged by Fire

Teenage Gerald, who has spent years protecting his fragile half-sister from their abusive father, faces the prospect of one final confrontation before the problem can be solved.

1998 Illustrator
Javaka Steptoe. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers

A collection of poems celebrating African-American fathers by Angela Johnson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Carole Boston Weatherford, and others.

1997 Author
Walter Dean Myers. Slam!

Sixteen-year-old " Slam " Harris is counting on his noteworthy basketball talents to get him out of the inner city and give him a chance to succeed in life, but his coach sees things differently.

1997 Illustrator
Jerry Pinkney with text by Alan Schroeder. Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman

Young Harriet Tubman, whose childhood name was Minty, dreams of escaping slavery on the Brodas plantation in the late 1820s.

1996 Author
Virginia Hamilton with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon. Her Stories

In this spellbinding sequel to a best-selling novel, cousins Cammy Coleman and Eloise Odie are forced to face some dark family secrets when their second cousins visit from New York City.

 

1996 Illustrator
Tom Feelings. The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo

Feelings's art speaks to the soul in this magnificent visual record of the Black Diaspora in the Americas. Clarke provides a concise narrative of the slave trade, and then readers pause at a double-spread image of a man, woman, bird, sun, and land before the pages become horrific.  - School Library Journal review

1995 Author
Patricia and Frederick McKissack. Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

Describes the customs, recipes, poems, and songs used to celebrate Christmas in the big plantation houses and in the slave quarters just before the Civil War.

 

1995 Illustrator
James Ransome with text by James Weldon Johnson. The Creation

A poem based on the story of creation from the first book of the Bible.

 

1994 Author
Angela Johnson. Toning the Sweep

On a visit to her grandmother Ola, who is dying of cancer in her house in the desert, fourteen-year-old Emmie hears many stories about the past and her family history and comes to a better understanding of relatives both dead and living.

1994 Illustrator
Tom Feelings. Soul Looks Back in Wonder

Artwork and poems by such writers as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Askia Toure portray the creativity, strength, and beauty of their African American heritage.

1993 Author
Patrica McKissack. The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural

A collection of ghost stories with African American themes, designed to be told during the Dark Thirty --the half hour before sunset--when ghosts seem all too believable.

1993 Illustrator
Kathleen Atkins Wilson with text by David A. Anderson. The Origin Of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth

Retells the Yoruba creation myth in which the deity Obatala descends from the sky to create the world.

1992 Author
Walter Dean Myers. Now Is Your Time! The Africian-Americian Struggle for Freedom

A history of the African-American struggle for freedom and equality, beginning with the capture of Africans in 1619, continuing through the American Revolution, the Civil War, and into contemporary times.

1992 Illustrator
Faith Ringgold. Tar Beach

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.

1991 Author
Mildred D. Taylor. The Road To Memphis

Sadistically teased by two white boys in 1940's rural Mississippi, a black youth severely injures one of the boys with a tire iron and enlists Cassie's help in trying to flee the state.

1991 Illustrator
Leo and Diane Dillon with text by Leontyne Price. Aida

Retells the story of Verdi's opera in which the love of the enslaved Ethiopian princess for an Egyptian general brings tragedy to all involved.

 

1990 Author
Patricia and Frederick McKissack. A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter  

A chronicle of the first black-controlled union, made up of Pullman porters, who after years of unfair labor practices staged a battle against a corporate giant resulting in a "David and Goliath" ending.

 

1990 Illustrator
Jan Spivey Gilchrist with text by Eloise Greenfield. Nathaniel Talking

A collection of first person poems that as a whole characterize an individual black child through the child's lyric impressions of self and the surrounding world.

1989 Author
Walter Dean Myers. Fallen Angels

Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.

1989 Illustrator
Jerry Pinkney with text by Patricia McKissack. Mirandy And Brother Wind  

To win first prize in the Junior Cakewalk, Mirandy tries to capture the wind for her partner.

 

1988 Author
Mildred D. Taylor. The Friendship

Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper in rural Mississippi in the 1930s.

1988 Illustrator
John Steptoe.Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

Mufaro's two beautiful daughters , one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.

1987 Author
Mildred Pitts Walter. Justin And The Best Biscuits In The World

Suffering in a family full of females, ten-year-old Justin feels that cleaning and keeping house are women's work until he spends time on his beloved grandfather's ranch.

 

1987 Illustrator
Jerry Pinkney with text by Crecent Dragonwagon. Half A Moon And One Whole Star    

The summer night is full of wonderful sounds and scents as Susan falls asleep.

1986 Author
Virgina Hamilton. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

Retold Afro-American folktales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope.

1986 Illustrator
Jerry Pinkney with text by Valerie Flournoy. The Patchwork Quilt

Using scraps cut from the family's old clothing, Tanya helps her grandmother and mother make a beautiful quilt that tells the story of her family's life.

1985 Author
Walter Dean Myers. Motown and Didi

Motown and Didi , two teenage loners in Harlem, become allies in a fight against Touchy, the drug dealer whose dope is destroying Didi 's brother, and find themselves falling in love with each other.

 

1985 Illustrator
No award given.

1984 Author
Lucille Clifton. Everett Anderson's Goodbye

Everett Anderson has a difficult time coming to terms with his grief after his father dies.

 

1984 Illustrator
Pat Cummings with text by Mildred Pitts Walter. My Mama Needs Me   

Jason wants to help, but isn't sure that his mother needs him at all after she brings home a new baby from the hospital.

1983 Author
Virgina Hamilton. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush

Fourteen-year-old Tree, resentful of her working mother who leaves her in charge of a retarded brother , encounters the ghost of her dead uncle and comes to a deeper understanding of her family's problems.

 

1983 Illustrator
Peter Magubane. Black Child

1982 Author
Mildred D. Taylor. Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Four black children growing up in rural Mississippi during the Depression experience racial antagonisms and hard times, but learn from their parents the pride and self-respect they need to survive

 

1982 Illustrator
John Steptoe with text adapted by Rosa Guy. Mother Crocodile: An Uncle Amadou Tale From Senegal

 

1981 Author
Sidney Poitier. This Life

Autobiography of actor Sidney Poitier.

1981 Illustrator
Ashley Bryan. Beat The Story-Drum, Pum-Pum

Five Nigerian folktales, masterfully retold, are accompanied by vibrant woodcuts. - Publishers Weekly

 

1980 Author
Walter Dean Myers. The Young Landlords

Five devoted friends become landlords and try to make their Harlem neighborhood a better place to live.

 

 

1980 Illustrator
Carole Byard with text by Camille Yarbrough. Cornrows

Explains how the hair style of cornrows , a symbol in Africa since ancient times, can today in this country symbolize the courage of outstanding Afro-Americans.

1979 Author
Ossie Davis. Escape To Freedom: A Play about Young Frederick Douglass

Born a slave, young Frederick Douglass endures many years of cruelty before escaping to the North to claim his freedom.

 

1979 Illustrator
Tom Feelings with text by Nikki Grimes. Something On My Mind

1978 Author
Eloise Greenfield with illustrations by Carole Byard. Africa Dream

A black child's dreams are filled with the images of the people and places of Africa.

1978 Illustrator
Carole Byard with text by Eloise Greenfield. Africa Dream

A black child's dreams are filled with the images of the people and places of Africa.

 

1977 Author
James Haskins. The Story Of Stevie Wonder

 

1977 Illustrator
No award given.

 

1976 Author
Pearl Bailey. Duey's Tale

A maple seedling becomes separated from his mother tree, makes friends with a bottle and a log, and searches for his own place in life.

 

1976 Illustrator
No award given.

 

1975 Author
Dorothy Robinson. The Legend Of Africania

 

1975 Illustrator
No award given.

1974 Author
Sharon Bell Mathis with illustrations by George Ford. Ray Charles

A biography of the popular singer, who became blind as a young boy.

1974 Illustrator
George Ford with text by Sharon Bell Mathis. Ray Charles

A biography of the popular singer, who became blind as a young boy.

1973 Author
Jackie Robinson, as told to Alfred Duckett. I Never Had It Made: The Autobiography of Jackie Robinson

Before Barry Bonds, before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball's stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever.

 

1972 Author
Elton C. Fax. Seventeen Black Artists

 

1971 Author
Charlemae H. Rollins. Black Troubador: Langston Hughes

 

1970 Author
Lillie Patterson. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace