Coretta Scott King Book Awards

About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.  Further, the Award encourages the artistic expression of the black experience via literature and the graphic arts in biographical, social, and historical treatments by African American authors and illustrators.

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Illustrator Award

2017 Winner(s)

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

In “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” collage style paintings with rich texture, bold colors and thick lines take readers on an emotional journey. Steptoe’s style blends with motifs from Basquiat’s own art to create this stunning picture book biography.

“Steptoe’s illustrations for ‘Radiant Child’ are striking. Painted on found wood, they echo the ‘sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still beautiful’ quality of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art, while relating the story of his difficult life,” said Bishop.

Javaka Steptoe is an artist, designer and children’s book illustrator. His debut work, “In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers,” an anthology featuring poetry from notable poets, including Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson and Carole Boston Weatherford, Angela Johnson and Sonia Sanchez, earned him his first Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, in 1998; “Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow” (written by Gary Golio), received a CSK Illustrator Honor in 2011. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.  


2017 Honor(s)

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

Freedom in Congo Square
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, and published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group

In Plain Sight
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, written by Richard Jackson, and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership

Author Award

2017 Winner(s)

March: Book Three

Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell, and published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC

“March: Book Three,” is a first-hand account of the Civil Rights Movement through Lewis’ eyes. Using vivid language and dynamic visual storytelling, it details events from the Freedom Summer to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Readers experience the realities of segregation, the sacrifices required for the struggle and the courage that defines true leaders.

Co-author John Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district and an iconic African-American civil rights activist, who chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Co-author Andrew Aydin is the digital director and policy advisor in Rep. Lewis’s Washington, D.C. office. They won a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award in 2014 for the first volume in the series, “March: Book One.” 

“’March: Book Three’ is a riveting and multilayered graphic personal history of the civil rights movement and a window into the mind and experiences of a living legend,” said Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury Chair Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop.


2017 Honor(s)

As Brave as You
Written by Jason Reynolds and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division