Prepared by the Coretta King Book Awards Committee
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seeks to recognize and promote outstanding works by African American illustrators and writers. This list includes books that have won the award as well as some that have not. All of the books listed, however showcase stories and art from the African American perspective and provide satisfying reading experiences for all children.
by Lisa Wheeler
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Even the youngest member of the family participates in a spontaneous dance party when Daddy puts jazz on the record player. Vibrant pictures as alive as the music are a perfect complement for the rhyming text.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown, 2007
This retelling of the childhood classic features a child of color, as she travels to her grandmother’s house. The lush watercolor illustrations will attract old and young to a story both warm and familiar.
MOTHER GOOSE: NUMBERS ON THE LOOSE
written and illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
The Dillons bring their considerable talents to reworking Mother Goose rhymes for a new generation of children. In this unique approach, verses that feature numbers are in the spotlight. Characters seem to march across the page that literally parade across the pages, in lively illustrations that engage the reader.
THE CHICKEN-CHASING QUEEN OF LAMAR COUNTY
by Janice N. Harrington
illustrated by Shelley Jackson
Melanie Kroupa, 2007
A young girl decides she is going to be the best chicken-chaser in the county but quickly learns that the hens she is trying to grab are more clever than they appear. Bright, energetic collage illustrations add excitement to this fun-filled story.
DONAVAN'S DOUBLE TROUBLE
By Monalisa DeGross
Donovan’s warm and lively family helps him cope with his difficulties with math and confusion about his relationship with his war-injured favorite uncle.
JABBERWOCKY: THE CLASSIC POEM FROM LEWIS CARROLL'S THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, AND WHAT ALICE FOUND THERE
by Lewis Carroll
illustrated by Christopher Myers
Jump at the Sun, 2007
This classic poem gets a urban makeover as it is now set on a city basketball court and incorporates the sounds and feel of the game. The illustrations are bold and feature black silhouettes, and a strong typeface to add even more intensity and drama.
JAZZ ON A SATURDAY NIGHT
Written and Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Scholastic Blue Sky Press, 2007
Jazz comes alive for young readers in this homage to the classic figures who made the music. The text and the illustrations work together to demonstrate the vibrancy of the music. By creating a dream jam session, the giants of jazz are introduced to young readers.
by Angela Johnson
illustrated by Loren Long
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007
A young boy experiences the days of the Tuskeegee airmen through his uncle’s stories of his long –ago adventures. Oil painting illustrations enhance the feeling of the big sky and a world of possibilities.
BRENDAN BUCKLEY’S UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT
By Sundee T. Frazier
Delacorte Press, 2007
Brendan Buckley has a burning desire to learn all he can about science. His love of rocks and minerals leads him to mineral show where he stumbles upon a family secret and a way to bring two different sides of his family together.
ELIJAH OF BUXTON
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Elijah, the first child born in a settlement of former slaves in Canada, finds his uneventful life disrupted when he attempts to locate the corrupt preacher who has stolen funds intended to purchase a family’s freedom.
by Jacqueline Woodson
As sixth-grader Frannie tries to understand a poem assigned by her teacher, another challenge arrives in the form of a new boy. His appearance triggers questions of racial identity and spirituality among Frannie and her friends.
MISS CRANDALL'S SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADIES & LITTLE MISSES OF COLOR
by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson
illustrated by Floyd Cooper
In mid-nineteenth century Connecticut, Prudence Crandall opened a school for Black girls. These beautifully crafted sonnets imagine the lives and struggles of the girls and teachers as they cope with the hostility and eventual destruction of the school. Cooper’s sepia-toned illustrations enhance the telling of this dramatic effort to provide education for girls who had a strong desire to learn.
TWELVE ROUNDS TO GLORY: THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD ALI
Written by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
illustrated by Bryan Collier
Candlewick Press, 2007
Muhammad Ali continues to fascinate in this unique look at the iconic athlete. Smith’s poems evoke the rhymes Ali once created and Collier’s bold collages complement the lively text.
WE ARE THE SHIP: THE STORY OF NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL
Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Disney/Jump at the Sun, 2008
The talent and dignity of the men who managed and played in the Negro leagues is on full display in this moving chapter of America’s baseball history.
BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus by Floyd Cooper
Boyds Mill Press/Wordsong
This biography in verse captures the poignancy and drive of the young woman who would become the legendary jazz singer. Cooper’s expressionistic illustrations perfectly match the mood of music and longing so prevalent in Holiday’s life and music.
A LONG WAY GONE: MEMOIRS OF A BOY SOLDIER
by Ishmael Beah
Sarah Crichton, 2007
The ways in which children were used to fight during Sierra Leone’s civil war are dramatically told in this riveting memoir. Beah uses simple language, letting the events themselves create the intensity of this horrific story of war and childhoods lost.
MALCOLM X: A GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY.
Written by Andrew Helfer Illus. by Randy Duburke.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Hill & Wang, 2006
In a format sure to connect with teen readers, Helfer presents the early years of Malcolm Little and the dramatic changes in his life that led to him becoming the historic Malcolm X. Duburke’s line drawings create an air of intimacy that further adds to this compelling presentation.
by M. Sindy Felin
Seventh-grader Karina and other members of her Haitian immigrant family hide her stepfather's violence until one terrible episode threatens to expose all and send the tyrant they call "the Daddy" to jail.
WHAT THEY FOUND: LOVE ON 145TH STREET
By Walter Dean Myers
Random House/Wendy Lamb, 2007
In this companion to 145th Street: Short Stories, the neighborhood is revisited, this time the beauty shop is the setting and the jumping off point for this rich group of stories. The connection to community provides a thread, however each story is unique, with sharp characterization and structure. The variations of life and love in this community are strongly evident in this masterful collection.