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.

9 Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2009


Click for a larger image of We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball

We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball
by Kadir Nelson, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 96 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 9 - 12
ISBN13: 9780786808328
Imprint: Disney-Hyperion
Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide
Parent Company: The Walt Disney Company
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Read a Description of We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball


Book Description: 

"We are the ship; all else the sea."-Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League

The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. The voice is so authentic, you will feel as if you are sitting on dusty bleachers listening intently to the memories of a man who has known the great ballplayers of that time and shared their experiences. But what makes this book so outstanding are the dozens of full-page and double-page oil paintings-breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game.




Click for a larger image of Becoming Billie Holiday

Becoming Billie Holiday
by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.95
Format: Hardcover, 120 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 14 - 15
ISBN13: 9781590785072
Imprint: Wordsong
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
Parent Company: Boyds Mills Press
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Read a Description of Becoming Billie Holiday


Book Description: 

Before the legend of Billie Holiday, there was a girl named Eleanora. In 1915, Sadie Fagan gave birth to a daughter she named Eleanora. The world, however, would know her as Billie Holiday, possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time. Eleanora's journey into legend took her through pain, poverty, and run-ins with the law. By the time she was fifteen, she knew she possessed something that could possibly change her life—a voice. Eleanora could sing. Her remarkable voice led her to a place in the spotlight with some of the era's hottest big bands. Billie Holiday sang as if she had lived each lyric, and in many ways she had. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles Eleanora Fagan's metamorphosis into Billie Holiday. The author examines the singer's young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion in this Coretta Scott King Author Honor winner. With stunning art by Floyd Cooper, this book provides a revealing look at a cultural icon.




Click for a larger image of Keeping the Night Watch

Keeping the Night Watch
by Hope Anita Smith

Publication Date:
List Price: $9.99
Format: Paperback, 80 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 10 - 13
ISBN13: 9780312659363
Imprint: Square Fish
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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Read a Description of Keeping the Night Watch


Book Description: 
So many unanswered questions weigh down thirteen-year-old C.J. as he struggles to understand why his father walked out. His father is back now, though C.J. is not as quick to forgive as the other members of his family. He still feels the weight of responsibility that fell on his shoulders when Daddy was gone, and he’s not prepared to give that up. But C.J.’s anger is making him a stranger in his own home, and instead of life seeming better now that Daddy has returned, it feels worse.Through powerful poems, Hope Anita Smith chronicles the nuanced emotions of a family that is slowly learning to heal and put the pieces back together.Keeping the Night Watch is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.


Click for a larger image of The Blacker The Berry

The Blacker The Berry
by Joyce Carol Thomas, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 4 - 8
ISBN13: 9780060253752
Imprint: Amistad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
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Read a Description of The Blacker The Berry


Book Description: 

We are color struck
The way an artist strikes
His canvas with his brush of many hues

Look closely at these mirrors
these palettes of skin
Each color is rich
in its own right”

Black is dazzling and distinctive, like toasted wheat berry bread; snowberries in the fall; rich, red cranberries; and the bronzed last leaves of summer. In this lyrical and luminous collection, Coretta Scott King honorees Joyce Carol Thomas and Floyd Cooper celebrate these many shades of black beautifully.




Click for a larger image of The Blacker The Berry

The Blacker The Berry
by Joyce Carol Thomas, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 4 - 8
ISBN13: 9780060253752
Imprint: Amistad
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
Borrow from Library

Read a Description of The Blacker The Berry


Book Description: 

We are color struck
The way an artist strikes
His canvas with his brush of many hues

Look closely at these mirrors
these palettes of skin
Each color is rich
in its own right”

Black is dazzling and distinctive, like toasted wheat berry bread; snowberries in the fall; rich, red cranberries; and the bronzed last leaves of summer. In this lyrical and luminous collection, Coretta Scott King honorees Joyce Carol Thomas and Floyd Cooper celebrate these many shades of black beautifully.




Click for a larger image of Before John Was A Jazz Giant: A Song Of John Coltrane

Before John Was A Jazz Giant: A Song Of John Coltrane
by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Publication Date:
List Price: $18.99
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 5 - 9
ISBN13: 9780805079944
Imprint: Henry Holt & Company
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
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Read a Description of Before John Was A Jazz Giant: A Song Of John Coltrane


Book Description: 

Young John Coltrane was all ears. And there was a lot to hear growing up in the South in the 1930s: preachers praying, music on the radio, the bustling of the household. These vivid noises shaped John's own sound as a musician. Carole Boston Weatherford and Sean Qualls have composed an amazingly rich hymn to the childhood of jazz legend John Coltrane.




Click for a larger image of The Moon Over Star

The Moon Over Star
by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 6 - 8
ISBN13: 9780803731073
Imprint: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC
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Read a Description of The Moon Over Star


Book Description: 

In July 1969, the world witnessed an awe-inspiring historical achievement when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. For the young protagonist of this lyrical and hopeful picture book, that landing is something that inspires her to make one giant step toward all of the possibilities that life has to offer.

Caldecott Honor–winning painter Jerry Pinkney and the poetic Dianna Hutts Aston create a moving tribute to the historic Apollo 11 Mission, just in time to commemorate its upcoming fortieth anniversary.




Click for a larger image of We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball

We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball
by Kadir Nelson, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 96 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 9 - 12
ISBN13: 9780786808328
Imprint: Disney-Hyperion
Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide
Parent Company: The Walt Disney Company
Borrow from Library

Read a Description of We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball


Book Description: 

"We are the ship; all else the sea."-Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League

The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. The voice is so authentic, you will feel as if you are sitting on dusty bleachers listening intently to the memories of a man who has known the great ballplayers of that time and shared their experiences. But what makes this book so outstanding are the dozens of full-page and double-page oil paintings-breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game.




Click for a larger image of Bird

Bird
by Zetta Elliott, Illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Publication Date:
List Price: $19.95
Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
Classification: Children’s
Age: 8 - 13 years
ISBN13: 9781600602412
Imprint: Lee & Low Books
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Parent Company: Lee & Low Books
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Read a Description of Bird


Book Description: 

In this gentle, award-winning picture book, an African American boy nicknamed Bird uses drawing as a creative outlet as he struggles to make sense of his grandfather's death and his brother’s drug addiction.







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