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.

7 Coretta Scott King Award Winning and Honored Books for 2020

Click for a larger image of New Kid

New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Publication Date:
List Price: $21.99
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9780062691200
Imprint: HarperCollins
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
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Read a Description of New Kid

Book Description: 

Class Act, the follow up to New Kid will be published in October. AALBC will be the first to reveal Class Act’s, cover on February 7, 2020 at noon.

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

New Kid is the Most Critically Acclaimed Graphic Novel of 2019

  • Winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal
  • Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Award
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature
  • Finalist for Audie Award — Middle Grade Book of the Year
  • San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • Indie Bestseller for Early & Middle Grade Readers
  • One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Middle Grade Books of 2019
  • New England Independent Booksellers Association Best Children’s Book of 2019
  • New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association 2019 Book of the Year for Middle Readers
  • Top 10 Spring 2019 Indie Next List Pick
  • Amazon Best Book of the Month, Ages 9–12
  • 2019 Harvey Award for Best Children’s Book Nominee
  • One of Booklist’s 2019 Top 10 Diverse Fiction for Youth
  • One of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s Books, Spring 2019
  • #1 Indie Comics & Graphic Works Bestseller
  • One of the Best Graphic Novels of 2019 — School Library Journal
  • One of the 5 Best Fiction Books of 2019 — Washington Post
  • One of the Best Graphic Novels of 2019 — Washington Post
  • 2020 Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children — Honor Book
  • One of the Best Books of the Year —
  • Best Books of 2019 — New York Public Library
  • Best Fiction for Older Readers of 2019 — Chicago Public Library
  • 25 Best Children’s Books of 2019 — New York Times
  • Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2019 — Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature
  • The Best New Gift Books for Kids — People

Click for a larger image of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
by Jason Reynolds

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781481438285
Imprint: Atheneum
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Book Description: 
From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all they different directions a walk home can take.

This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—

Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
But mostly, too busy walking home.

Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

Click for a larger image of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
by Kwame Mbalia

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781368039932
Imprint: Rick Riordan Presents
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Parent Company: Rick Riordan Presents
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Read a Description of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Book Description: 
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong tumbles into the MidPass and, with allies John Henry and Brer Rabbit, must entice the god Anansi to come out of hiding and seal the hole Tristan accidentally ripped in the sky.

Click for a larger image of The Undefeated

The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781328780966
Imprint: Versify
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Parent Company: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Read Our Review of The Undefeated

Read a Description of The Undefeated

Book Description: 
The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.
Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.

Click for a larger image of Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace
by Ashley Bryan

Publication Date:
List Price: $21.99
Format: Hardcover, 112 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781534404908
Imprint: Atheneum
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace

Book Description: 
From celebrated author and illustrator Ashley Bryan comes a deeply moving picture book memoir about serving in the segregated army during World War II, and how love and the pursuit of art sustained him.

In May of 1942, at the age of eighteen, Ashley Bryan was drafted to fight in World War II. For the next three years, he would face the horrors of war as a black soldier in a segregated army.

He endured the terrible lies white officers told about the black soldiers to isolate them from anyone who showed kindness--including each other. He received worse treatment than even Nazi POWs. He was assigned the grimmest, most horrific tasks, like burying fallen soldiers...but was told to remove the black soldiers first because the media didn’t want them in their newsreels. And he waited and wanted so desperately to go home, watching every white soldier get safe passage back to the United States before black soldiers were even a thought.

For the next forty years, Ashley would keep his time in the war a secret. But now, he tells his story.

The story of the kind people who supported him.
The story of the bright moments that guided him through the dark.
And the story of his passion for art that would save him time and time again.

Filled with never-before-seen artwork and handwritten letters and diary entries, this illuminating and moving memoir by Newbery Honor-winning illustrator Ashley Bryan is both a lesson in history and a testament to hope.

Click for a larger image of Sulwe

by Lupita Nyong’o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781534425361
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of Sulwe

Book Description: 

From Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Click for a larger image of Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again
by Alicia D. Williams

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Classification: Children’s
ISBN13: 9781481465809
Imprint: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of Genesis Begins Again

Book Description: 

“Reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
New York Times

  • 2020 Winner of The Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent
  • John Newbery Honor for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature
  • 2020 William C. Morris Award Finalist
  • A Kirkus Prize Finalist 2019
  • William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist 2019
  • An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
  • A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
  • A Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Book of 2019
  • Top AALBC Book on the subject of “Colorism

This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who is filled with self-loathing and must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.

There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence.

What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.

But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

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