SAN DIEGO – Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “One Crazy Summer,”and Bryan Collier, illustrator of “Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” are the winners of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, authors of “Zora and Me,” and Sonia Lynn Sadler, illustrator of “Seeds of Change,” are the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winners. The awards were announced today at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, held January 7 – 11 in San Diego, and will be presented in New Orleans at the ALA Annual Conference 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.
“One Crazy Summer,” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, tells the story of 11-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters as they travel to Oakland, Calif. in 1968 to face the emotional challenge of reaching out to a distant mother and learn about a different side of the Civil Rights Movement. Themes of friendship, family and identity intertwine with broader social issues in this compelling historical novel.
Rita Williams-Garciais the author of several award-winning books for young people, including “Like Sisters on the Homefront,” a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. She lives in Jamaica, N.Y. and is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.
“The winning title for text was selected because it is thought-provoking and features complex, well developed characters,” said Jonda C. McNair, award jury chair.
In “Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Dave, a slave in 19th century South Carolina, demonstrated extraordinary talent and skill to achieve creative success. At a time when it was illegal for slaves to read and write, the eloquent poetry on Dave’s remarkable pots provided inspiration and hope to those who had none.
“Bryan Collier has crafted a stunning visual tribute to the life of an unsung American artist,” said McNair.
Bryan Collier is the illustrator of more than twenty-five picture books, including Coretta Scott King Award Winner “Rosa,” and Coretta Scott King Honor Book “Martin’s Big Words” (both also Caldecott Honor Books). He lives in Harlem, where he directs mural programs for children throughout New York City.
Occasionally awarded, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award affirms new talent and offers visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustrations at the beginning of a career as a published children’s book creator. This year’s winners are Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, authors of “Zora and Me,” published by Candlewick Press; and Sonia Lynn Sadler, illustrator of “Seeds of Change,” written by Jen Cullerton Johnson and published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.
“Zora and Me” is a fictionalized account of one childhood summer of the legendary author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston. Young Zora’s storytelling talents are on display as she and her friends cope with racial tensions, a mysterious death and a rumored half-man, half-alligator in small-town Florida.
“Seeds of Change” is an inspiring biography of Wangari Maathai (known as “Mama Miti”), the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner whose motto “Plant a tree” changed the face of Kenya. Her deceptively simple words motivated the rest of the world to be more conscious of the environment.
Three Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books were selected:
“Lockdown” byWalter Dean Myers, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers;
“Ninth Ward” by Jewell Parker Rhodes, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.; and
“Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty” by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke and published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.
One Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book was selected:
“Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, written by Gary Golio and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Members of the 2011 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are: Chair Jonda C. McNair, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.; Lesley Colabucci, Millersville University, Millersville, Pa.; Eboni Curry, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, Washington, D.C.; Cora P. Dunkley, University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.; Diane Foote, Chicago; Debra S. Gold, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma Heights, Ohio; and Karen Lemmons, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit.
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with approximately 63,000 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