John Steptoe New Talent Award

John Steptoe seal image (watermarked)

The John Steptoe New Talent Award is established to affirm new talent and to offer visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustration which otherwise might be formally unacknowledged within a given year within the structure of the two awards given annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force.



The criteria for eligibility will be the same as those for the writing and illustration awards, with the exception that the winner(s)' published works cannot exceed three in number. An author or illustrator who has already received or has just been selected to win one of the Coretta Scott King Awards in the current year is not eligible for the John Steptoe Award for New Talent. An author may receive this award one time.

One award will be presented annually for text or illustrations. The Committee may choose to select one book for writing and a second book for illustration. The award need not be given if the committee so decides in a particular year.

Submit a title.

Award Winners


Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Monday's Not Coming (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

Oge Mora, illustrator of Thank You, Omu (Little, Brown Young Readers)


David Barclay Moore, author of The Stars Beneath Our Feet (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.)

Charly Palmer, illustrator of Mama Africa! How Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song (Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC.)


Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun Is Also a Star (Delacorte Press, and imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC)


Ronald L. Smith, author of Hoodoo (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Ekua Holms, illustrator of Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (Candlewick Press).


Jason Reynolds, author of When I Was the Greatest (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division). 


Theodore Taylor III, illustrator of When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, written by Lagan Carrick Hill (Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings, Ltd.


No award presented.


No award presented.


Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, authors of Zora and Me (Candlewick Press).


Kekla Magoon, author of The Rock and the River (Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)


Shadra Strickland, author of Bird (Lee & Low Books)


Sundee T. Frazier, author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It (Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books)


Traci L. Jones, author of Standing Against the Wind (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Jaime Adoff, author of Jimi & Me (Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children)


Barbara Hathaway, author of  Missy Violet and Me (Houghton Mifflin)

Frank Morrison, illustrator of Jazzy Miz Mozetta, written by Brenda C. Roberts (Farrar Straus Giroux)


Hope Anita Smith, author of The Way a Door Closes, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Henry Holt)

Elbrite Brown, illustrator of My Family Plays Music, written by Judy Cox (Holiday House)


Janet McDonald, author of Chill Wind (Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Randy DuBurke, illustrator and author of The Moon Ring (Chronicle Books)


Jerome Lagarrigue, illustrator of Freedom Summer, written by Deborah Wiles (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)


No award presented.


No award presented.


Sharon Flake, author of The Skin I'm In (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion)

Eric Velasquez, illustrator of The Piano Man, written by Debbie Chocolate (Walker Books for Young Readers)


No award presented.


 Martha Southgate, author of Another Way to Dance (Delacorte)


No award presented.


Sharon Draper, author of Tears of a Tiger (Simon & Schuster)

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Winner, Honor, and John Steptoe Award for New Talent seals are property of the American Library Association and cannot be used in any form or reproduced without permission of the ALA Office of Rights and Permissions.