Coretta Scott King Book Award

Larra Clark/Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release

January 22, 2007

Draper, Nelson win 2007 Coretta Scott King Awards

SEATTLE – Sharon Draper, author of “Copper Sun,” and Kadir Nelson, illustrator of “Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,” are the winners of the 2007 Coretta Scott King Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Traci L. Jones, author of “Standing Against the Wind,” is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award winner.

The awards were announced today at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

In “Copper Sun,” 15-year-old Amari’s struggle with the evils of slavery will resonate with today’s teens. Amari is brutally dragged from her home in Africa, forced onto a slave ship and eventually sold as a gift for a plantation owner’s son. Forming an unlikely alliance with an indentured servant and a young slave boy, the threesome escape and set off on a treacherous journey of hope and survival.

“You can’t help but be drawn into Amari’s life as you turn the pages,” said Coretta Scott King Book Award Jury Chair Darwin L. Henderson. “Amari's spirit and determination will leave readers breathless, even as they gain a deeper understanding of the history of slavery in our country.”

Draper currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she writes the stories teenagers love to read. She is the recipient of the 1998 Coretta Scott King Award for text, 2004 Coretta Scott King honor award and the 1995 John Steptoe New Talent Award. “Copper Sun” is published by Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

In “Moses,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, the strong emotional impact of Nelson’s illustrations combine with rich sensory language to make this book a work of art. Nelson’s bold and expressively detailed paintings capture the essence of Harriet Tubman’s treacherous journey toward freedom. Double-page spreads use shades of blues, browns and golds to portray Tubman as a larger-than-life historical figure while maintaining her full humanity.

Nelson, who lives in San Diego, began drawing at age 3. He is the recipient of the 2005 Coretta Scott King Award for illustration and a 2004 Coretta Scott King honor award. In 2002, he won an NAACP Image Award.

Occasionally awarded, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award affirms new talent and offers visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustrations at the beginning of a career as a published children’s book creator. “Standing Against the Wind” introduces readers to 13-year-old Patrice as she is uprooted from her comfortable home in Georgia just before her mother goes to jail. In her debut novel, Jones captures Patrice’s sense of alienation and strong self-determination. Patrice learns to dodge the cruel bullying of streetwise boys, reach her goals and succeed “against the wind.” The book is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

One King Author Honor Book was selected: “The Road to Paris” written by Nikki Grimes and published by G.P. Putnum’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “Jazz,” illustrated by Christopher Myers, written by Walter Dean Myers and published by Holiday House, Inc.; and “Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes” illustrated by Benny Andrews, edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad, and published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

The Coretta Scott King Award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Committee of the ALA’s Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT).

Members of the 2007 Coretta Scott King Book Award Jury are: Chair Darwin L. Henderson, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, Brenda M. Hunter, Atlanta-Fulton (Ga.) Public Library, retired; Kimberly A. Patton, Lawrence (Kans.) Public Library; Adelaide Poniatowski Phelps, Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.; Bettye Loggins Smith, District of Columbia Public Library; Henrietta M. Smith, University of South Florida-Tampa.; Lila B. Wisotzki, Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library.

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Coretta Scott King Awards and other ALA literary awards, please visit