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.


2016 - Author
Ronald L. Smith. Hoodoo

Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell. Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo.

voice of freedom

2016 - Illustrator
Ekua Holmes. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Presents a collage-illustrated treasury of poems and spirituals inspired by the life and work of civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer.

when i was the greatest bookjacket

2015 - Author
Jason Reynolds. When I Was the Greatest

Ali lives in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood known for guns and drugs, but he and his sister, Jazz, and their neighbors, Needles and Noodles, stay out of trouble until they go to the wrong party, where one gets badly hurt and another leaves with a target on his back.

2014 - Illustrator
Theodore Taylor III. When the Beat was Born

An introduction to pioneering DJ Clive Campbell describes how he devised new ways of playing music between dance songs, sharing insight into his youth in 1970s Jamaica and the Bronx, and how his musical achievements helped counter gang violence.

No award given.

No award given.

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.

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.