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.

8 Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2018


Click for a larger image of Piecing Me Together

Piecing Me Together
by Renée Watson

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 272
ISBN13: 9781681191058
Imprint: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Parent Company: Bloomsbury Publishing

Book Description:  A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And she has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.


Click for a larger image of Long Way Down

Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 240
ISBN13: 9781481438254
Imprint: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation

Book Description: 
An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END if WILL gets off that elevator.

Told in short, fierce staccato narrative verse, Long Way Down is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence, as could only be told by Jason Reynolds.


Click for a larger image of The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 464
ISBN13: 9780062498533
Imprint: Balzer + Bray
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation

Book Description: 
Eight Starred Reviews! #1 New York Times Bestseller!"Absolutely riveting!" Jason Reynolds"Stunning." John Green"This story is necessary. This story is important." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Heartbreakingly topical." Publishers Weekly (starred review)"A marvel of verisimilitude." Booklist (starred review)"A powerful, in-your-face novel." The Horn Book (starred review)Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr doesor does notsay could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.




Click for a larger image of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Gordon C. James

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 32
ISBN13: 9781572842243
Imprint: Agate Bolden
Publisher: Agate Publishing, Inc
Parent Company: Agate Publishing, Inc

Book Description: 
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

A fresh cut makes boys fly.

This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.


Click for a larger image of Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Poetry
Page Count: 56
ISBN13: 9780763680947
Imprint: Candlewick Press
Publisher: Walker Books
Parent Company: Walker Books

Book Description: 
A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.

Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.


Click for a larger image of Before She was Harriet

Before She was Harriet
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James Ransome

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 32
ISBN13: 9780823420476
Imprint: Holiday House
Publisher: Holiday House
Parent Company: Holiday House

Book Description: 
A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse and illustrated by an award-winning artist.
We know her today as Harriet Tubman, but in her lifetime she was called by many names. As General Tubman she was a Union spy. As Moses she led hundreds to freedom on the Underground Railroad. As Minty she was a slave whose spirit could not be broken. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life.


A Junior Library Guild Selection


Click for a larger image of The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet
by David Barclay Moore

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 304
ISBN13: 9781524701246
Imprint: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC

Book Description: 
A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that’s been described as a “fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us” by Newbery Honor and National Book Award winning author Jacqueline Woodson.

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

Advance praise:
“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is the book I’ve been waiting for. Rarely do you see this side of New York rendered so authentically and generously. So much heart here. And so much talent.” —Matt de la Pe a, Newbery Award winning author of Last Stop on Market Street

“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is a fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us. David Barclay Moore is an exciting new voice. We definitely haven’t heard the last of his brilliance.” —Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor and National Book Award winning of Brown Girl Dreaming

“The Stars Beneath Our Feet is about the weight of the world on the back of a child, and the creative tools necessary to alleviate that pressure. I found myself rooting for Lolly, and you will too.” —Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Honor Winner for As Brave As You


Click for a larger image of Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song

Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song
by Kathryn Erskine, Illustrated by Charly Palmer

Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 48
ISBN13: 9780374303013
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Younger Readers (BYR)
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck

Book Description: 
Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid?a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations. Set defiantly in the present tense, this biography offers readers an intimate view of Makeba’s fight for equality. Kathryn Erskine’s call-and-response style text and Charly Palmer’s bold illustrations come together in a raw, riveting duet of protest song and praise poem. A testament to how a single voice helped to shake up the world?and can continue to do so.