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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2017 Author Award Winner
The 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner is given to Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin for “March Book: Three,” published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.
“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.
2017 Illustrator Award Winner
The 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner is given to Javaka Steptoe, illustrator and author of "Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” published by Little, Brown and Company.
In “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” 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.
2017 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 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.
2017 Author Honor Books
“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.
2017 Illustrator Honor Books
“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.
2017 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement
Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Professor Emerita at The Ohio St ate University, is the recipient of the 2017 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Aw ard for Lifetime Achievement. The announcement was made by the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Jan. 20 - 24, in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s critical assessment and cultural optic has had a profound influence on the ways in which generations of librarians, teachers, and scholars present books to children and young adults,” said Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Chair Dr. Darwin Henderson. “Her research, knowledge and compassion for readers has broadened the development of African American Children’s Literature.”
Dr. Bishop is a winner of numerous awards and has served as a respected member of many book awards committees over the course of her long and distinguished career. Her influential writing, speaking, and teaching articulates the history and cultural significance of African American children’s literature. Her globally cited work, ‘Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors’, has inspired movements for increased diversity in books for young people, and provides the basis for the best multicultural practice and inquiry for students, teachers, writers and publishing houses.
The Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement is named in memory of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. The annual award is presented in odd years (i.e. 2013, 2015, 2017…), to a practitioner for substantial contributions through active engagement with youth using award winning African American literature for children and/or young adults, via implementation of reading and reading related activities/programs. The recipient may be a public librarian, academic librarian, school librarian (public or private), an educator (pre K-12 or any level therein, or higher education) or youth literature advocate whose vocation, work, volunteer service or ongoing promotion of books with and/or on behalf of youth is significant and sustained.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seal images and award names are solely and exclusively owned by the American Library Association.