The Coretta Scott King Book Awards

coretta scott king award seal

The 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.  

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2016 Author Award Winner

The 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner is given to Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “Gone Crazy in Alabama.”

“Gone Crazy in Alabama,” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is the final book in Williams-Garcia’s trilogy about the Gaither sisters. She blends cultural and family history in a vivid, readable way, laced with humor. Each sister is a distinct individual, growing, changing, and helping to change the perspectives of their elders. 

Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of several award-winning books for young people, including the 2014 Coretta Scott King Book Award for “P.S. Be Eleven” and “One Crazy Summer,” recipient of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Book Award and Newbery Honor title. Williams-Garcia is also the recipient of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. She lives in Jamaica, N.Y., and is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.

“Rita Williams-Garcia has written a convincing, often humorous portrayal of three young sisters from Brooklyn spending the summer in the South, living and learning in the bosom of a complicated but loving multigenerational family,” said Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury Chair Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop.

2016 Illustrator Award Winner

The 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner is given to Bryan Collier, illustrator of “Trombone Shorty."

In “Trombone Shorty,” written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Bill Taylor, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS, Collier creates vibrant, bold color collages and realistic images that portray the musical growth of a young boy in the jazz tradition of the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans.

“Collier’s illustrations beautifully capture important events in Andrews’s life, as well as the spirit of his beloved city and the music that is at the heart of both New Orleans and Trombone Shorty,” said Bishop.

Bryan Collier is the illustrator of over 25 picture books and the recipient of multiple awards, including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, Caldecott Honor, and Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award.  He lives with his family in upstate New York, where he creates illustrations and visits classrooms to share his books and art.   

2016 John Steptoe Award for New Talent

The Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent affirms new talent and offers visibility for excellence in writing and/or illustration at the beginning of a career as a published African American creator of children’s books. This year’s winners are Ronald L. Smith, author of “Hoodoo,” published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company; and Ekua Holmes, illustrator of “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press.

“Hoodoo” is the rich, atmospheric tale of a boy trying to ward off an evil spirit in 1930s small-town Alabama. When the foreboding Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo Hatcher must use the folk magic passed down in his extended family to save the day.

“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” is a powerful biography of the heroic Civil Rights leader. Told with inspiring poetry and vivid images, Hamer’s humanity shines through in this impressive collection.

2016 Author Honor Books

“All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

“The Boy in the Black Suit” by Jason Reynolds, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

“X: A Novel” by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon, published by Candlewick Press.

2016 Illustrator Honor Books

“The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

“Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Peña, and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.

2016 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Jerry Pinkney headshotJerry Pinkney is the recipient of the 2016 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The announcement was made today by the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Jan. 8-12, in Boston.

“Accomplished artist and illustrator Jerry Pinkney constructs books which explore cultural experiences and ethnic identity.  This dynamic process offers amazing insight, remarkable skill, and distinctive style.  Through the visual life of his illustrations, Pinkney has created a vast and broad legacy for child and adult audiences,” stated Awards Jury Chair Dr. Darwin L. Henderson.

In selecting Jerry Pinkney, the Jury observes that his illustrations detail a world that resonates with readers long after the pages of a book have been turned. His five decades of work offer compelling artistic insights into the legacy of African American storytelling and experience. Beyond Pinkney’s technical brilliance, his support of differentiated learning through art and of young illustrators sets him apart as both artist and educator. His powerful illustrations have redefined the scope of the sophisticated picture book and its use with multiple levels of learners.

(c) 2016 

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seal images and award names are solely and exclusively owned by the American Library Association.