Coretta Scott King Book Awards

About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.  Further, the Award encourages the artistic expression of the black experience via literature and the graphic arts in biographical, social, and historical treatments by African American authors and illustrators.

Administered by:

Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) logo

Award and Frequency

Annual $1,000 cash prize and a plaque.
This award is given out on an annual basis.


1. Author or illustrator must live in the U.S. or maintain dual residency/citizenship.
2. The book must be published in the range of January - December 1 of the year preceding the year the award is given as indicated by the copyright date printed in the book.

Applicant Responsibility

Awardees are expected to attend Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast during ALA Annual Conference to deliver acceptance speech.  Publishers of winning/honor titles: produce study guide, breakfast program, and promotional materials/handouts for breakfast; provide ten (10) copies of each winning title to OLOS office and ten (10) copies to ALA Public Information Office; provide author/illustrator winner headshot; purchase tables for the breakfast; provide copies of winning titles for fifty (50) children in attendance at breakfast.

Application Instructions

Review the instructions and submit the online application.

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 09/29/2023. Last retrieved on 09/29/2023. Members can log in and refresh page to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

1.Must portray some aspect of the black experience, past, present, or future.
2.Must be written/illustrated by an African American
3.Must be published in the U.S. in the calendar year preceding presentation of the Award.
4.Must be an original work
5.Must meet established standards of quality writing for youth which include:
•Clear plot
•Well drawn characters, which portray growth and development during the course of the story.
•Writing style which is consistent with and suitable to the age intended
6.Must be written for a youth audience in one of three categories:  
•Preschool-grade 4
•Grades 5-8
•Grades 9-12
7.Particular attention will be paid to titles which seek to motivate readers to develop their own attitudes and behaviors as well as comprehend their personal duty and responsibility as citizens in a pluralistic society.
8.Illustrations should reflect established qualitative standards identified in the statement below:
Illustrations should... “heighten and extend the readers' awareness of the world around him. They should lead him to an appreciation of beauty. The style and content of the illustrations should be...neither coy nor condescending...Storytelling qualities should enlarge upon the story elements that were hinted in the text and should include details that will awaken and strength the imagination of the reader and permit him to interpret the words and pictures in a manner unique to him”
--Cianciolo, Illustrations in Children's Books (p. 24-25)


Winners are announced during the ALA Youth Media Awards Announcement on the Monday morning of the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January.  Winners are contacted that morning.