Rita Williams-Garcia, Bryan Collier win 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Macey Morales
Deputy Director
mmorales@ala.org

BOSTON– Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “Gone Crazy in Alabama,” and Bryan Collier, illustrator of “Trombone Shorty,” are the winners of the 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Ronald L. Smith, author of “Hoodoo,” is the winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Author Award for New Talent, and Ekua Holmes, illustrator of “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” is the winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Illustrator Award for New Talent. The awards were announced today at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, held Jan. 8-12, in Boston, and will be presented in Orlando, Florida, 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 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.

“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.

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.   

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.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected:

“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.

Two Illustrator Honor Books were selected:

“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.

Members of the 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are: Chair, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Sam Bloom, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio; Dr. Christina H. Dorr, Weaver Middle School/Kent State University, Columbus , Ohio; Ruth Newell, Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook, Ill.; April Roy, L.H. Bluford Library, Kansas City, Mo.; Barbara S. Spears, Ed.D., Consultant, Bowie, Md.; and Ida W. Thompson, Richland County (S.C.) School District One.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 55,000 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.

 

 

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