For immediate release | January 11, 2016

Jerry Pinkney 2016 recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

BOSTON – Jerry Pinkney is the recipient of the 2016 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The announcement was made today by the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Jan. 8-12, in Boston.

“Accomplished artist and illustrator Jerry Pinkney constructs books which explore cultural experiences and ethnic identity. This dynamic process offers amazing insight, remarkable skill, and distinctive style. Through the visual life of his illustrations, Pinkney has created a vast and broad legacy for child and adult audiences,” stated Awards Jury Chair Dr. Darwin L. Henderson.

In selecting Jerry Pinkney, the Jury observes that his illustrations detail a world that resonates with readers long after the pages of a book have been turned. His five decades of work offer compelling artistic insights into the legacy of African American storytelling and experience. Beyond Pinkney’s technical brilliance, his support of differentiated learning through art and of young illustrators sets him apart as both artist and educator. His powerful illustrations have redefined the scope of the sophisticated picture book and its use with multiple levels of learners.

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 (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.

In even years (2016, 2018, 2020), the award is presented to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.

Virginia Hamilton was an award-winning author of children's books. She wrote more than 35 books throughout her career, including “M. C. Higgins, the Great,” for which she won the 1975 Newbery Medal. During her lifetime, Hamilton received numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Members of the 2016 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Jury are: Chair Dr. Darwin L. Henderson, University of Cincinnati, College of Education; Eboni R. Njoku, D.C. Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Frances Martindale, Gordon School, East Providence, R.I.; Deborah Denise Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Martha M. Walke, Children’s Literature New England, South Strafford, Vt.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 55,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

For more information on the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit



Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Awareness Office

312 280 4393