Coretta Scott King Award Winners

View all American Children's Awards book lists; This list was last updated on 10/16/2014
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coretta scott king award sealThe Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
Visit American Library Association website for more details. 

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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Knock Knock
Every morning, I play a game with my father.
He goes knock knock on my door
and I pretend to be asleep
till he gets right next to the bed.
And my papa, he tells me, "I love you."

But what happens when, one day, that "knock knock" doesn't come? This powerful and inspiring book shows the love that an absent parent can leave behind, and the strength that children find in themselves as they grow up and follow their dreams.
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P.S. Be Eleven

In this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel and sequel to the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home. This extraordinary novel earned five starred reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it "historical fiction that's as full of heart as it is of heartbreak" and The Horn Book considering it "funny, wise, poignant, and thought-provoking."

After spending the summer in Oakland, California, with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence. The sisters aren't the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That's much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around. Besides her sisters, Delphine's got plenty of other things to worry about—like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance. The one person she confides in is her mother, Cecile. Through letters, Delphine pours her heart out and receives some constant advice: to be eleven while she can.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

release date: Apr 01, 1984
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Young Landlords
If you were looking for a real ghetto dump, you couldn't beat The Stratford Arms. There was Askia Ben Kenobi throwing karate chops upstairs, Petey Darden making booze downstairs, and Mrs. Brown grieving for Jack Johnson, who'd died for the third time in a month—and not a rent payer in the bunch. Still, when Paul Williams and the Action Group got the Arms for one dollar, they thought they had it made. But when their friend Chris was arrested for stealing stereos and Dean's dog started biting fire hydrants and Gloria started kissing, being a landlord turned out to be a lot more work than being a kid.
release date: Jan 01, 1987
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Beat The Story-Drum, Pum-Pum (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
A collection of African tales, one about a man with bad habits, and three animal stories involving a frog and a hen, a cow and an elephant, a frog and a snake, and a rabbit.
release date: Jan 01, 1982
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release date: Oct 01, 1983
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Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush

Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home enough to ease the terrible longing?

Whatever secrets his whispered message held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.

release date: Jul 15, 1988
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Everett Anderson's Goodbye

Everett Anderson's Goodbye is a touching portrait of a little boy who is trying to come to grips with his father's death. Lucille Clifton captures Everett's conflicting emotions as he confronts this painful reality. We see him struggle through many stages, from denial and anger to depression and, finally, acceptance. In this spare and moving poem, the last in this acclaimed series, Lucille Clifton brings Everett Anderson's life full circle.

Everett Anderson's Goodbye is the winner of the 1984 Coretta Scott King Author Award.

A Reading Rainbow Selection

An NCTE Teachers' Choice

release date: Jan 01, 1985
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The Patchwork Quilt
Grandmother, quilts, intergenerational story, African American family
release date: Nov 09, 2004
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The People Could Fly
“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton's prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton's most beloved tale. The author's original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

Awards for The People Could Fly collection:

A Coretta Scott King Award

A Booklist Children's Editors' Choice

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A Horn Book Fanfare

An ALA Notable Book

An NCTE Teachers' Choice

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year
release date: Jan 01, 1987
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release date: Jan 13, 1997
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Mirandy and Brother Wind
“Each page sparkles with life.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
In this Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning tale, Mirandy is determined to capture the best partner for the junior cakewalk jubilee. And who is the best partner? The wind, of course!
 
Grandmama Beasley says, “Can't nobody put shackles on Brother Wind, chile. He be special. He be free.” With neighbors up and down Ridgetop suggesting all manner of strategies, and friend Ezel laughing at each foiled one, Mirandy grows ever more determined: she'll get hold of that Brother Wind yet!
            Patricia C. McKissack's thoroughly engaging tale dances with spirit and rollicking good humor. Complemented by Jerry Pinkney's rich, eye-catching watercolors of the rural South, here's one of those rare, rewarding picture books that is sure to be read and enjoyed again and again.
release date: Jan 01, 1988
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release date: Jan 01, 2002
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The Road to Memphis
This is the third book in the saga which begins with "Roll of Thunder" and "Hear My Cry". It is 1941, and all of America is filled with rumblings of war in Europe and the Pacific. But Cassie Logan has reason to be more concerned with trouble back home in Mississippi.
release date: Jan 01, 1991
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Tar Beach
Illus. in full color. "Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of
eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building
rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part
autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic
and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular
artwork resonates with color and texture. Children will delight in the
universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it. A practical and
stunningly beautiful book."--(starred) "Horn Book."
release date: May 16, 2008
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Now Is Your Time!: The African-american Struggle for Freedom
A history of the African-American struggle for freedom and equality, beginning with the capture of Africans in 1619, continuing through the American Revolution, the Civil War, and into contemporary times.
release date: Jan 01, 1993
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The Dark-Thirty
In that special half-hour of twilight—the dark-thirty—there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing, suspenseful, and breathtakingly original, these tales make up a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten.
release date: Nov 01, 1993
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Soul Looks Back in Wonder
A full-color, collaborative effort, featuring work by the artist for Jambo Means Hello and poetry by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Walter Dean Myers, among others, passes the heritage of strength and creativity to today's young African Americans. Winner 1994 Coretta Scott King Book Award. BOMC.
release date: Mar 01, 1993
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The Middle Passage
Author James Hollis's eloquent reading provides the listener with an accessible and yet profound understanding of a universal condition—or what is commonly referred to as the Mid-life crisis. The book shows how we may travel this Middle Passage consciously, thereby rendering our lives more meaningful and the second half of life immeasurably richer.
release date: Jan 01, 1998
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Her Stories
A collection of twenty-five African-American folktales focuses on strong female characters and includes ""Little Girl and Bruh Rabby,"" ""Catskinella,"" and ""Annie Christmas."" By the author of The People Could Fly.
release date: Feb 01, 2002
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release date: Jan 01, 1996
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Slam!
An exciting, eye-catching repackage of acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers' bestselling paperbacks, to coincide with the publication of SUNRISE OVER FALLUJA in hardcover.

Seventeen-year-old Greg "Slam" Harris can do it all on the basketball court. He's seen ballplayers come and go, and he knows he could be one of the lucky ones. Maybe he'll make it to the top. Or maybe he'll stumble along the way. Slam's grades aren't that hot. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up.

Slam never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn't have the ball.
release date: Jan 30, 2001
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In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall
In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Dakari Hru, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, and Davida Adedjouma all contribute. Javaka Steptoe, who also offers a poem, employs an inventive range of media to bring each of the poems to life. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.
release date: Jan 01, 1997
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Forged By Fire
When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is dangerous and powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted mother is taken from him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a favorite aunt. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes his life miserable. The one bright light in Gerald's life is his little half sister, Angel, whom he struggles to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and from their mother, whose irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work hard to keep the family together.

As a teenager, Gerald finds success as a member of the Hazelwood Tigers basketball team, while Angel develops her talents as a dancer. Trouble still haunts them, however, and Gerald learns, painfully, that young friends can die and old enemies must be faced. In the end he must stand up to his stepfather alone in a blazing confrontation.

Sharon M. Draper has interwoven characters and events from her previous novel, Tears of a Tiger, in this unflinchingly realistic portrayal of poverty and child abuse. It is an inspiring story of a young man who rises above the tragic circumstances of his life by drawing on the love and strength of family and friends.
release date: Sep 21, 2005
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I See the Rhythm
This award-winning picture book invites children along to dance to the rhythm of swing at the Savoy in Harlem, to rejoice to the rhythm of gospel from a church pew on a Sunday morning, and more. Each stunning spread—including art, poetic text, a description of the music style, and a time line of selected historical events—encompasses the spirit of the times and the strength of the communities where the music was born. Toyomi Igus's lyrical text, matched with artist Michele Wood's daring vision, captures the feel of each style of music and pays tribute to the musicians who gave the music life.
release date: Feb 03, 1999
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In the Time of the Drums
Mentu has never known Africa. He is an island-born boy. But Grandmother Twi, she has Africa in her blood—and she shares the old magic of her home through songs and stories. One day, a slave ship docks on the shore of the island where Mentu lives. Like Twi, the people inside yearn to return to Africa.  Will old magic help them break their chains and cross the ocean to freedom?  

Certain to inspire for years to come, In the Time of the Drums tells a spellbinding story of strength in slavery times. An essential addition to library and family collections, this arrives just in time for Black History Month.
release date: Jan 01, 2006
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Bud, Not Buddy
It's 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but he's on a mission. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: posters of Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression! Bud's got an idea that those posters will lead to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him.

Bud, Not Buddy is full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters, hitting the high notes of jazz and sounding the deeper tones of the Great Depression.
release date: Dec 10, 2002
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Only Passing Through
A powerful picture book biography of one of the abolitionist movement's most compelling voices.

Sojourner Truth traveled the country in the latter half of the 19th century, speaking out against slavery. She told of a slave girl who was sold three times by age 13, who was beaten for not understanding her master's orders, who watched her parents die of cold and hunger when they could no longer work for their keep. Sojourner's simple yet powerful words helped people to understand the hideous truth about slavery. The story she told was her own.

Only Passing Through is the inspiring story of how a woman, born a slave with no status or dignity, transformed herself into one of the most powerful voices of the abolitionist movement. Anne Rockwell combines her lifelong love of history with her well-known skill as a storyteller to create this simple, affecting portrait of an American icon.


From the Hardcover Library Binding edition.
release date: Jan 01, 2001
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Goin' Someplace Special
There's a place in this 1950s southern town where all are welcome, no matter what their skin color...and 'Tricia Ann knows exactly how to get there. To her, it's someplace special and she's bursting to go by herself.
When her grandmother sees that she's ready to take such a big step, 'Tricia Ann hurries to catch the bus heading downtown. But unlike the white passengers, she must sit in the back behind the Jim Crow sign and wonder why life's so unfair.
Still, for each hurtful sign seen and painful comment heard, there's a friend around the corner reminding 'Tricia Ann that she's not alone. And even her grandmother's words -- "You are somedbody, a human being -- no better, no worse than anybody else in this world" -- echo in her head, lifting her spirits and pushing her forward.
Patricia C. McKissack's poignant story of growing up in the segregated South and Jerry Pinkney's rich, detailed watercolors lead readers to the doorway of freedom.
release date: Jan 01, 2003
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Beautiful Blackbird
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.
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The First Part Last
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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