For immediate release | January 22, 2024

Ibi Zoboi, Dare Coulter win 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Awards

BALTIMORE — Ibi Zoboi, author of “Nigeria Jones,” and Dare Coulter, illustrator of “An American Story,” are the winners of the 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Jade Adia, author of “There Goes the Neighborhood,” and Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, illustrator of “We Could Fly,” are the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent winners. The awards were announced today during the American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held Jan. 19–22 in Baltimore.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts; promote an understanding and appreciation of the black culture and experience; and commemorate the life and legacy of 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.

“Nigeria Jones,” published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is a bold new Young Adult coming-of-age story, which explores race, feminism and complicated family dynamics.

Zoboi’s writing has been published in The New York Times Book Review, the Horn Book Magazine and The Rumpus, among others. As an educator, she was the recipient of several grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council for her community-based programs for teen girls in both Brooklyn and Haiti. She’s worked for arts organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative and Community Word Project as a writer-in-residence and teaching artist in New York City public schools. Zoboi has received several CSK Honor awards in the past, however this is her first CSK Author Award medal.

“A beautiful, challenging and heartbreaking journey of self-identity, this narrative was both gripping and unsettling—and maybe that was the point. Sixteen-year-old Nigeria Jones is grieving, while coming to terms with the woman she wants to be rather than the woman her father wants her to be all while experiencing her first love,” said Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury Chair Dr. LaKeshia Darden.

In “An American Story,” published by Little, Brown and Co., a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., stunning mixed-media illustrations take the reader on a journey from the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South. This is a story of a people’s struggle and strength, horror and hope.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Lorton, Virginia, Coulter has illustrated nine children’s books. For the second half of her life, she has lived in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, where the bulk of her public artwork has been created. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor’s in Art + Design, but considers herself a graduate of Meredith College’s art program, as well. Dare Coulter has worked to create a career that focuses around heart-felt presentations of the human experience, life, joy and resilience.

“Coulter masterfully uses mixed-media, illustrations and clay figures, to differentiate for the reader the story of slavery and present-day reactions of the kids who are learning about this history from their teacher in the narrative. Coulter’s illustrations beautifully yet authentically tell the American story of Black people that although tragic, is a story of triumph,” Darden said.

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 Steptoe author award goes to Jade Adia, author for “There Goes the Neighborhood,” published by Hyperion, an imprint of Buena Vista Books Inc. This year’s Steptoe illustrator award goes to Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, illustrator of “We Could Fly,” written by Rhiannon Giddens, published by Candlewick Press.

“Gentrification is transforming the neighborhood of three teens that readers will fall in love with in this coming-of-age YA that is sure to keep you turning the pages and eager to witness how they overcome the vicissitudes of life while managing evolving friendships and the social issues of the day,” Darden said.

“Uchendu’s ethereal, whimsical illustrations, which are reminiscent of Virginia Hamilton’s ‘The People Could Fly,’ celebrate love, resilience and the spiritual power of oral traditions that can uplift a people,” Darden said.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected:

  • “Big,” written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison and published by Little, Brown and Co., a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
  • “How Do You Spell Unfair?: MacNolia Cox and the National Spelling Bee,” by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison and published by Candlewick Press.
  • “Kin: Rooted in Hope,” by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Three King Illustrator Honor Books were selected:

  • “Big,” illustrated and written by Vashti Harrison and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
  • “Holding Her Own: The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes,” illustrated by Shannon Wright, written by Traci N. Todd and published by Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
  • “There Was a Party for Langston,” illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey, written by Jason Reynolds and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Members of the 2024 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are Chair LaKeshia Darden, Ed.D, director of library services, St. Philip’s College, San Antonio; Tamela Chambers, branch manager, Chicago Public Library; Edith Ching, adjunct lecturer, University of Maryland; Jina DuVernay, cultural consultant/librarian, Atlanta; Andrea Jamison, Ph.D, assistant professor of school librarianship, Illinois State University; Malana Krongeib, research services librarian, Boston Public Library; and Nancy Tolson, Ph.D, undergraduate director of African-American Studies, University of South Carolina.

For information on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and other ALA Youth Media Awards, visit

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