Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners 1970 to Present

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 2004


Click for a larger image of The First Part Last

The First Part Last
by Angela Johnson

Publication Date:
List Price: $9.99
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 12 years
ISBN13: 9781442403437
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Book Description: 
This little thing with the perfect face and hands doing nothing but counting on me. And me wanting nothing else but to run crying into my own mom’s room and have her do the whole thing.
It’s not going to happen….
Bobby is your classic urban teenaged boy — impulsive, eager, restless. On his sixteenth birthday he gets some news from his girlfriend, Nia, that changes his life forever. She’s pregnant. Bobby’s going to be a father. Suddenly things like school and house parties and hanging with friends no longer seem important as they’re replaced by visits to Nia’s obstetrician and a social worker who says that the only way for Nia and Bobby to lead a normal life is to put their baby up for adoption.
With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson looks at the male side of teen pregnancy as she delves into one young man’s struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it. No matter what the cost.


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Days Of Jubilee
by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick McKissack

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9780590107648
Imprint: Scholastic Press
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Parent Company: Scholastic Inc.
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Read a Description of Days Of Jubilee


Book Description: 
The McKissacks introduce young readers to the pivotal events leading up to and including the long awaited and glorious Days of Jubilee.

For two and a half centuries African-American slaves sang about, prayed for, and waited on their long anticipated freedom — a day of Jubilee. But freedom didn’t come for slaves at the same time. DAYS OF JUBILEE chronicles the various stages of U.S. emancipation beginning with those slaves who were freed for their service during the Revolutionary War, to those who were freed by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Using slave narratives, letters, diaries, military orders, and other documents, the McKissacks invite young readers to celebrate coming freedom and the Days of Jubilee.


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Locomotion
by Jacqueline Woodson

Publication Date:
List Price: $7.99
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9780142415528
Imprint: Speak
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC
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Read a Description of Locomotion


Book Description: 
Finalist for the National Book Award

When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies." But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.


Click for a larger image of The Battle Of Jericho

The Battle Of Jericho
by Sharon M. Draper

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 297 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 12 and up
ISBN13: 9780689842320
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of The Battle Of Jericho


Book Description: 

"Are you willing to do anything to help your slimy pledge brothers become Distinguished Gentlemen?" Sharp demanded. "Anything, sir," Jericho said. He just wanted it to be over. "Then suck my big toe." "Sir?" Jericho wasn't sure if he had heard correctly…

When Jericho is invited to pledge for the Warriors of Distinction, he thinks his life can't get any better. As the most exclusive club in school, the Warriors give the best parties, go out with the hottest girls, and sail through their classes. And when Arielle, one of the finest girls in his class, starts coming on to him once the pledge announcements are made, Jericho is determined to do anything to become a member…

But as the initiation week becomes progressively harrowing, Jericho is forced to make choices he's not entirely comfortable with. And one member seems to have it in for the sole female pledge in the group...a pledge who will stop at nothing to show she can handle the pressure. But when is she being pushed too far, and when should Jericho and his friends step in and risk losing their places in the pledging process? As Jericho becomes increasingly uneasy, his cousin Joshua breezes through the initiation, never thinking of the consequences, even when the fine line between fun and games, and life and death is crossed.

Sharon M. Draper proves once again that she knows just how real kids think, act, and feel in this haunting story of peer pressure, popularity, and hazing.






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Beautiful Blackbird
by Ashley Bryan, Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

Publication Date:
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 3 - 7
ISBN13: 9780689847318
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Book Description: 

Black is beautiful, uh-huh!

Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings — markings that detail birds to this very day. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan's adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia reso-nates both with rhythm and the tale's universal meanings — appreciating one's heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.






Click for a larger image of Almost to Freedom

Almost to Freedom
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrated by Colin Bootman

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.95
Format: School & Library Binding, 40 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 6 - 10
ISBN13: 9781575053424
Imprint: Lerner Publishing Group
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Parent Company: Lerner Publishing Group
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Read a Description of Almost to Freedom


Book Description: 
Tells the story of a young girl’s dramatic escape from slavery via the Underground Railroad, from the perspective of her beloved rag doll.


Click for a larger image of Thunder Rose

Thunder Rose
by Jerdine Nolen, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Publication Date:
List Price: $7.00
Format: Paperback, 32 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 5 - 8
ISBN13: 9780152060060
Imprint: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read a Description of Thunder Rose


Book Description: 
Thunder Rose vows to grow up to be more than just big and strong, thank you very kindly—and boy, does she ever! But when a whirling storm on a riotous rampage threatens, has Rose finally met her match?


Click for a larger image of The Way a Door Closes

The Way a Door Closes
by Hope Anita Smith, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Publication Date:
List Price: $9.99
Format: Paperback, 64 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 8 - 12
ISBN13: 9780312661694
Imprint: Square Fish
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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Read a Description of The Way a Door Closes


Book Description: 
My best friend, Preacher, is being just that. His sermon today is on fathers and I am his congregation.
"Dads are light. They have no roots.
One strong wind, and they’re gone.
Out of here. History."With a click, a bang, a whisper—or no noise at all. There are so many ways that a door can close, but it’s not just the closing; it’s the knowing. And thirteen-year-old CJ knows too much—about losing his father, about his family’s pain, and especially about what it means to hold things together when times are the toughest. In this beautifully written and powerfully moving novel in poems, Hope Anita Smith tells the story of a young man’s struggle to accept a father who has walked out on his family. Here, in CJ’s words, is a portrait of hurt and healing, and finding the strength to open the door again.The Way a Door Closes is the winner of the 2004 Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe New Talent Award and the 2004 Bank Street - Claudia Lewis Award and is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.



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