Carter G. Woodson Award Winning Books


As of 2001 awards and honors are given in the following categories, Elementary (K-6), Middle (5-8), and Secondary (7-12) grade level books.

Carter Woodson Award Seal Carter G. Woodson Seal

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) established the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards for the most distinguished books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States. First presented in 1974, this award is intended to “encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social studies books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and race relations sensitively and accurately.” Books relating to ethnic minorities and the authors of such books rarely receive the recognition they merit from professional organizations. By sponsoring the Carter G. Woodson Awards, NCSS gives wide recognition to and encourages these authors and publishers. Here is a printable list of all the award winning books. Learn more at NCSS’s website.

Also check out our list of Top 100+ Recommended African-American Children’s Books, some are also CSK Award winning titles.


6 Award Winning and Honored Books for 2019


Secondary Level Winner

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
by Claire Hartfield

Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99
Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 12 and up
ISBN13: 9780544785137
Imprint: Clarion Books
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read a Description of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919


Book Description: 
On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. Archival photos and prints, source notes, bibliography, index.

Secondary Level Honor

Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City
by Phillip Hoose

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $19.99
    Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
    Classification: Children’s
    ISBN13: 9780374306120
    Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Younger Readers (BYR)
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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    Read a Description of Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City


    Book Description: 

    "Hoose does a brilliant job of portraying the surrounding historical context, exploring the migration of black families from the South to Indiana, showing how Jim Crow practices were just as present in the North as in the South, and describing the deep groundswell of support for basketball in Indiana. . ..Attucks! doesn’t pretend that we’ve outlived the racism of the American past, all the while showing readers how being grounded in one’s self-worth and committed to the pursuit of excellence can have a lasting impact on a community. A powerful, awe-inspiring basketball-driven history." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    "Excessively readable, this should appeal to sports fans and those looking for a good book about the civil rights era. Exemplary notes and sources will push readers—adults included—to learn even more." —Booklist, starred review

    "The evolving fast-break style of play, the local rivalries, and the sheer prowess of individual players guarantee a compelling read, but the story of how a mini dynasty of high school players turned the tables on segregationists extends interest beyond sports fans. . .When kids think they’ve reached the end of their civil rights era education, hand them this." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

    "Hoose balances this expos of basketball’s racist history with thrilling game accounts, character insight, and great sympathy." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    "With sharp insight and an engaging writing style, the author relates how high school basketball engulfed the way of life in different Indiana communities and was instrumental in dismantling parts of segregation. Numerous black-and-white photos and newspaper articles supplement this exceedingly engaging work. . .A great purchase for YA nonfiction collections." —School Library Journal

    "Hoose demonstrates how young people can affect history. . .[A] thought-provoking volume." —The Horn Book

    "A fresh, revelatory look at a familiar story that is central to understanding Indianapolis." —The Indianapolis Star

    "I’d always been a fan of Oscar Robertson, arguably the best basketball player of the twentieth century, but until I read Attucks!—the thrilling, moving, enlightening story of his roots in deeply segregated Indianapolis—I had no idea of how important a life he had led." —Robert Lipsyte, author of SportsWorld: An American Dreamland



    Middle Level Winner

    America Border Culture Dreamer: The Young Immigrant Experience from A to Z
    by Wendy Ewald

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $18.99
      Format: Hardcover, 64 pages
      Classification: Children’s
      ISBN13: 9780316484954
      Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
      Publisher: Hachette Book Group
      Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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      Read a Description of America Border Culture Dreamer: The Young Immigrant Experience from A to Z


      Book Description: 
      First- and second-generation immigrants to the US from all around the world collaborate with renowned photographer Wendy Ewald to create a stunning, surprising catalog of their experiences from A to Z.
      In a unique collaboration with photographer and educator Wendy Ewald, eighteen immigrant teenagers create an alphabet defining their experiences in pictures and words. Wendy helped the teenagers pose for and design the photographs, interviewing them along the way about their own journeys and perspectives.

      America Border Culture Dreamer presents Wendy and the students’ poignant and powerful images and definitions along with their personal stories of change, hardship, and hope. Created in a collaboration with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, this book casts a new light on the crucial, under-heard voices of teenage immigrants themselves, making a vital contribution to the timely national conversation about immigration in America.

      Middle Level Honor

      So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom
      by Gary D. Schmidt

        Publication Date:
        List Price: $18.99
        Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
        Classification: Children’s
        ISBN13: 9781626728721
        Imprint: Roaring Brook Press
        Publisher: Macmillan
        Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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        Read a Description of So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom


        Book Description: 

        From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today.

        Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.



        Elementary Level Winner

        The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just
        by Mélina Mangal

          Publication Date:
          List Price: $19.99
          Format: Library Binding, 40 pages
          Classification: Children’s
          ISBN13: 9781512483758
          Imprint: Millbrook Press
          Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
          Parent Company: Lerner Publishing Group
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          Read a Description of The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just


          Book Description: 

          "Ernest Everett Just, an unsung African-American hero, changed biological science in the early 1900s. Mangal introduces Just as a scientist who ’saw the whole, where others saw only parts. He noticed details others failed to see.’ He became ’the world authority on how life begins from an egg’—but it was a long and difficult journey. Just was an observant child with a schoolteacher mother, but when he caught typhoid fever, he lost the ability to read and struggled, successfully, to relearn. He studied at boarding school and attended Dartmouth College, where he had difficulty keeping up while working to pay his way and support two siblings. Taking a biology class and discovering the world of the cell changed his life. He taught at Howard University and conducted research at a laboratory in Massachusetts, updating experimental processes and discovering a controversial idea about the egg cell’s role in fertilization. Mangal’s succinct, respectful narrative contextualizes Just in his times, for instance pointing out that he experienced more freedom and respect in the European scientific community than he did in the United States; eventually, he moved to France. A beautiful palette of sea blues and greens, sand and coral colors surround Just in illustrations that highlight the importance of environment and family. More than a story of triumph against the odds, this book shows the necessity of opportunity for brilliant minds to reach their potential."—Kirkus Reviews

          —Journal

          Elementary Level Honor

          Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School
          by Janet Halfmann

            Publication Date:
            List Price: $18.95
            Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
            Classification: Children’s
            ISBN13: 9781620141632
            Imprint: Lee & Low Books
            Publisher: Lee & Low Books
            Parent Company: Lee & Low Books
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            Read a Description of Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School


            Book Description: 

            Born into slavery around 1821 in Petersburg, Virginia, Lilly Ann Granderson secretly learned to read and write from her master’s children. Lilly Ann read everything she could get her hands on, and through newspapers, she learned of places in the North where slavery had been abolished. She longed to have that freedom too.

            As Lilly Ann’s reading and writing skills improved, she shared her knowledge with others by starting a school. After toiling for their masters all day, Lilly Ann’s students would slip nervously into the night to attend her "midnight" school. Every noise reminded them of the painful punishment they faced if they were found out. But the students were willing to risk any danger for the chance at an education. Over the years, hundreds of enslaved men and women learned to read and write under their teacher’s patient guidance.

            Midnight Teacher is an inspiring testament to an amazing instructor and pioneer in education. Lilly Ann Granderson’s steadfast courage in the face of adversity provides an inspiring model for all who attempt to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.