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Coretta Scott King Award Winning Books

coretta_scott_kingThe Coretta Scott King Awards are presented annually by the American Library Association to honor African-American authors and illustrators who create outstanding books for children and young adults. “… an excellent start on your quest for the best in African-American literature for children.”

csk winner seal
The CSK Book Awards seal and award names are owned by the American Library Association.

The award was established in 1969 to recognize authors. In 1979 it was expanded to include a separate award for illustrators. There are five categories of book awards; Author, Author Honor, Illustrator, Illustrator Honor, and the John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

These awards are given to commemorate the life and work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her continuing efforts in working for peace and civil rights issues. In 2015 The Coretta Scott King Awards became part of the Youth Media Awards. Here is a printable list of all the award winning books.

You may learn more, about this award, at the American Library Association’s website. Also check out our list of Top 100+ Recommended African-American Children’s Books, some are also CSK Award winning titles.

7 Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2017


Author Award

March Book Three
by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell



Publication Date:
List Price: $19.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Paperback
Classification: Nonfiction
Page Count: 256
ISBN13: 9781603094023
Imprint: Top Shelf Productions
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Parent Company: Top Shelf Productions

Book Description: 

Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling March trilogy (March Book One and March Book Two).

Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.

Large Image from March Book 3






Author Honor

As Brave As You
by Jason Reynolds



Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 432
ISBN13: 9781481415903
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation

Book Description: When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King Johnson Steptoe Award.Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans). How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all. Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?


Author Honor

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
by Ashley Bryan



Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 56
ISBN13: 9781481456906
Imprint: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation

Book Description: 

Charlotte

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.






Illustrator Award

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
by Javaka Steptoe



Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 40
ISBN13: 9780316213882
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Parent Company: Hachette Livre

Book Description: 
A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Javaka Steptoe.

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean—and definitely not inside the lines—to be beautiful.


Illustrator Honor

Freedom in Congo Square
by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie



Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 40
ISBN13: 9781499801033
Imprint: little bee books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation

Book Description: 

Freedom in Congo Square


This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart.

Mondays, there were hogs to slop,

mules to train, and logs to chop.

Slavery was no ways fair.

Six more days to Congo Square.

As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves’ duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (freddievans.com), a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.




Illustrator Honor

In Plain Sight: A Game
by Richard Jackson



Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 40
ISBN13: 9781626722552
Imprint: Roaring Brook Press
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck

Book Description: 
Sophie lives with Mama and Daddy and Grandpa, who spends his days by the window. Every day after school, it’s Grandpa whom Sophie runs to."Here I am, Grandpa!"
"Ah, Sophie, how was your day?"As Sophie and her grandpa talk, he asks her to find items he’s "lost" throughout the day, guiding Sophie on a tour through his daily life and connecting their generations in this sweet, playful picture book from Richard Jackson, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist and Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner Jerry Pinkney.


John Steptoe Award for New Talent

The Sun Is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon



Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Age: 12 and up
Page Count: 384
ISBN13: 9780553496680
Imprint: Delacorte Press
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC

Book Description: 

Natasha: I m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won t be my story.

Daniel: I ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 







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Printed: October 18, 2017, 6:26 pm
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