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.

9 Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2016


Author Award


Click for a larger image of Gone Crazy in Alabama

Gone Crazy in Alabama
by Rita Williams-Garcia



Age Range: 8 to 12
Publication Date: Apr 21, 2015
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 304
Imprint: Amistad

Synopsis:

Coretta Scott King Award Winner and AALBC.com bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters, who are about to learn what it's like to be fish out of water as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.

It's the summer of 1969, and Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit Big Ma and her eighty-two-year-old mother, Ma Charles. Pa can't remind them enough that the South's not like Brooklyn, and that you can't get more southern than Alabama.

Across the field, through the pines, and over the creek is the Trotter home, where Ma Charles's half sister, Miss Trotter, lives. The two half sisters haven't spoken in years, each determined to hold on to her version of the truth. Dramatic Vonetta plays middleman to the two warring, elderly sisters, while Delphine struggles against her to bring the family together. As Delphine hears about family history that she never knew existed, she learns of a hurt that happened many years ago which maybe can't be mended. But when a tragedy comes to the farm in Alabama, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven stands on its own as a story that brilliantly reveals the history of an African-American family in all its richness and complexity, superbly written by master storyteller Rita Williams-Garcia.


Author Honor


Click for a larger image of All American Boys

All American Boys
by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely



Age Range:
Publication Date: Sep 29, 2015
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 320
Imprint: Atheneum

Synopsis:

In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.


Author Honor


Click for a larger image of The Boy in the Black Suit

The Boy in the Black Suit
by Jason Reynolds



Age Range:
Publication Date: Jan 06, 2015
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 272
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this “vivid, satisfying, and ultimately upbeat tale of grief, redemption, and grace.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. Crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy stuff than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.


Author Honor


Click for a larger image of X: A Novel

X: A Novel
by Ilyasah Al-Shabazz, Illustrated by Kekla Magoon



Age Range:
Publication Date: Jan 06, 2015
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 384
Imprint:

Synopsis:

Cowritten by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.


Illustrator Award


Click for a larger image of Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty
by Troy Andrews, Illustrated by Bryan Collier



Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publication Date: Apr 14, 2015
List Price: $17.95
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 40
Imprint: Abrams Books

Synopsis:

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.


Illustrator Honor


Click for a larger image of Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt De La Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson



Age Range: 3 - 5 years
Publication Date: Jan 08, 2015
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 32
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:

A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.


Illustrator Honor


Click for a larger image of The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie



Age Range: Gr 1-4
Publication Date: Nov 01, 2015
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 32
Imprint: Carolrhoda Books

Synopsis:

In the 1930s, Lewis’s dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore.

And as far as Lewis Michaux Jr. could tell, his father’s bookstore was one of a kind. People from all over came to visit the store, even famous people Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, to name a few. In his father’s bookstore people bought and read books, and they also learned from each other. People swapped and traded ideas and talked about how things could change. They came together here all because of his father’s book itch. Read the story of how Lewis Michaux Sr. and his bookstore fostered new ideas and helped people stand up for what they believed in.


John Steptoe Award for New Talent


Click for a larger image of Hoodoo

Hoodoo
by Ronald L. Smith



Age Range: 10 - 12 years
Publication Date: Sep 01, 2015
List Price: $16.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 224
Imprint: Clarion Books

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.

When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.

Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.


John Steptoe Award for New Talent


Click for a larger image of Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes



Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Publication Date: Aug 04, 2015
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Children’s
Page Count: 56
Imprint:

Synopsis:

Stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations combine to celebrate the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.

"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.