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.


4 Award Winning and Honored Books for 2011


Secondary Level Winner

An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank
by Elaine Marie Alphin

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $9.95
    Format: Paperback, 152 pages
    Classification: Nonfiction
    Target Age Group: Middle Grade
    ISBN13: 9781467746304
    Imprint: Carolrhoda Books
    Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
    Parent Company: Lerner Publishing Group
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    Read a Description of An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank


    Book Description: 
    Was an innocent man wrongly accused of murder? On April 26, 1913, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan planned to meet friends at a parade in Atlanta, Georgia. But first she stopped at the pencil factory where she worked to pick up her paycheck. Mary never left the building alive. A black watchman found Mary’s body brutally beaten and raped. Police arrested the watchman, but they weren’t satisfied that he was the killer. Then they paid a visit to Leo Frank, the factory’s superintendent, who was both a northerner and a Jew. Spurred on by the media frenzy and prejudices of the time, the detectives made Frank their prime suspect, one whose conviction would soothe the city’s anger over the death of a young white girl. The prosecution of Leo Frank was front-page news for two years, and Frank’s lynching is still one of the most controversial incidents of the twentieth century. It marks a turning point in the history of racial and religious hatred in America, leading directly to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League and to the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan. Relying on primary source documents and painstaking research, award-winning novelist Elaine Alphin tells the true story of justice undone in America.

    Secondary Level Honor

    Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account Of The Kidnapping Of Emmett Till
    by Simeon Wright and Herb Boyd

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $12.95
      Format: Paperback, 160 pages
      Classification: Nonfiction
      Target Age Group: Middle Grade
      ISBN13: 9781569768198
      Imprint: Chicago Review Press
      Publisher: Chicago Review Press
      Parent Company: Chicago Review Press
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      Read a Description of Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account Of The Kidnapping Of Emmett Till


      Book Description: 
      No modern tragedy has had a greater impact on race relations in America than the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. A 14-year-old black boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955, Till was taken from his uncle’s home by two white men; several days later, his body was found in the Tallahatchie River. This grotesque crime became the catalyst for the civil rights movement.At age 12, author Simeon Wright saw and heard his cousin Emmett whistle at a white woman at a grocery store; he was sleeping in the same bed with him when Emmett was taken; and he was at the sensational trial. This is his gripping coming-of-age memoir.

      Elementary Level Winner

      Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down
      by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $18.99
      Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
      Classification: Fiction
      Target Age Group: Picture Book
      ISBN13: 9780316070164
      Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
      Publisher: Hachette Book Group
      Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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      Read a Description of Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down


      Book Description: 
      It was February 1, 1960.
      They didn’t need menus. Their order was simple.
      A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side.

      This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.

      Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the "whites only" Woolworth’s lunch counter. Brian Pinkney embraces a new artistic style, creating expressive paintings filled with emotion that mirror the hope, strength, and determination that fueled the dreams of not only these four young men, but also countless others.



      Elementary Level Honor

      Dave The Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
      by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

      Publication Date:
      List Price: $18.00
      Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
      Classification: Nonfiction
      Target Age Group: Picture Book
      ISBN13: 9780316107310
      Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
      Publisher: Hachette Book Group
      Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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      Read a Description of Dave The Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave


      Book Description: 

      To us
      it is just dirt,
      the ground we walk on…
      But to Dave
      it was clay,
      the plain and basic stuff
      upon which he formed a life
      as a slave nearly 200 years ago.

      Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill's elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier's resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave's story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

      Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill's elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier's resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave's story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.