ATLANTA – Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, co-authors of “March: Book Three,” and Javaka Steptoe, illustrator of “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” are the winners of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Nicola Yoon, author of “The Sun Is Also a Star,” is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent winner. The awards were announced today at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, held Jan. 20 – 24, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be presented in Chicago at the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in June.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) to encourage the artistic expression of the African-American experience via literature and the graphic arts; to promote an understanding and appreciation of the black culture and experience and to commemorate the life and legacy of Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination in supporting the work of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for peace and world brotherhood.
“March Book: Three,” published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC, concludes the award-winning trilogy by Congressman John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin. “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.
In “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, 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.
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 winner is Nicola Yoon for “The Sun Is Also a Star” published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
In "The Sun Is Also a Star," by Nicola Yoon, fate leads to love for Jamaican-American teen Natasha, who is fighting deportation. Told over the span of 12 hours, this intricately woven novel includes themes of diversity, immigration, first love and social and family issues creating an endearingly romantic novel.
Two King Author Honor Books were selected:
“As Brave As You” by Jason Reynolds, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and
“Freedom Over Me: Eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
Three Illustrator Honor Books were selected:
“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;
“Freedom Over Me: Eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life by Ashley Bryan,” illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and
“In Plain Sight,” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, written by Richard Jackson, a Neal Porter book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.
Members of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are: Chair Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Kacie V. Armstrong, Euclid Public Library (Ohio); Sam Bloom, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County; Erica T. Marks, Cleveland Public Library; Martha V. Parravano, The Horn Book Inc., Boston; April Roy, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; and Ida W. Thompson, Richland County School Dist. #1, Columbia, S.C.
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 57,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
For information on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.