The Coretta Scott King Book Awards

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.    


2015 Author Award Winner

The 2015 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner is given to Jacqueline Woodson, author of “brown girl dreaming.”

Published by Nancy Paulson Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, Penguin Group (USA) LLC, is an absorbing free verse memoir of a young girl growing up black and female in the 1960s and ‘70s full of arresting details and vivid imagery. Her choice of events and memories incorporate important historical events and her own evolution into the award-winning writer she has become.

From the time she was a child scribbling her name, Woodson told stories both true and not so true. After graduating from Adelphi University, she published her first book in 1990. Winner of many book awards, most recently the 2014 National Book Award Young People’s Literature, her published works range from picture books to young adult novels.

2015 Illustrator Award Winner

The 2015 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner is given to Christopher Myers, illustrator of “Firebird."

Written by Misty Copeland and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group USA, the illustrations of Myers depict the brilliant colorful world of the ballerina with its dancers on en pointe.

“The vibrant lines and colors mirror the movement of Copeland’s “Firebird”, says Patton.  “Encased in gorgeous collages and endpaper, balletic poses, leaping and bounding into the air at tremendous heights spur the imagination and inspire a young girl’s hopes and dreams,” said Patton.

Born in New YorkMyers is a graduate of Brown University. He also participated in the Whitney Museum of Art Independent Studio Program. His illustrations have received numerous awards, including a Caldecott Honor, and four Coretta Scott King Honors. Meyers lives in Brooklyn, where, in addition to his illustrating children’s books, he is also a photographer and clothing designer. 

2015 John Steptoe Award for New Talent

The 2015 John Steptoe Award for New Talent is given to Jason Reynolds, author of "When I Was the Greatest,” published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.  

Reynolds' lively and engaging portrayal of urban teenage boys is a compelling story about neighborhood, family, friendship, values and the acceptance of difference.

Living in an underserved neighborhood in Brooklyn, Allen/Ali befriends Noodles and his brother Needles, who has Tourette syndrome. In an authentic contemporary voice, Reynolds focuses on the importance of family, the acceptance of responsibility and the obligations of friendship and portrays a likeable teenager learning how to be a good man.

2015 Author Honor Books

“The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

“How I Discovered Poetry” by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

“How It Went Down” by Kekla Magoon, and published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

2015 Illustrator Honor Books

“JOSEPHINE: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker” illustrated by Christian Robinson written by Patricia Hruby Powell and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

“Little Melba and Her Big Trombone” illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and published by Lee and Low Books, Inc.

2015 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Deborah D. Taylor, coordinator of School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, is the recipient of the 2015 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Practitioner Award for Lifetime Achievement. The announcement was made today by the American Library Association (ALA) during the ALA Midwinter Meeting, held Jan.30 – Feb. 3 in Chicago.

“Deborah D. Taylor is an extraordinary youth librarian and literacy advocate,” stated Award Committee Chair Loretta Dowell.

Taylor’s career in public service began more than 40 years ago with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she is currently coordinator of School and Student Services.  Her career has been spent as mentor, educator and literacy advocate for young adults.

As an inspiring young adult librarian, leader in national associations and university instructor, she has been distinctly effective in introducing young people and her professional colleagues to the outstanding work of African American authors.


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