Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Charles R. Smith Jr. win 2010 Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Contacts: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312-280-5043/4393 /


For Immediate Release

January 18, 2010

BOSTON – Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, author of “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal” and Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrator of “My People” are the winners of the 2010 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. kekla magoon, author of “The Rock and the River” 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, being held January 15-19 in Boston, and will be presented in Washington, D.C. at the ALA Annual Conference in June.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) to encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts.

“Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal” published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. is a biography of a legendary peace officer. Born into slavery in 1838, Bass had a hard life and a strong sense of right and wrong. Bass was one of the most feared and respected lawman in Indian Territory. During his career, he made more than 3,000 arrests but killed only fourteen men.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson is the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books for children. In addition to writing books, she has also been a teacher, newspaper reporter, bookseller and children’s librarian.

“The winning title for text was selected because it is engaging, meticulously researched, and offers a riveting account of an unsung African American hero,” said Carole McCollough, Award Jury Chair

In “My People” written by Langston Hughes and published by ginee seo books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Smith’s vibrant sepia photographs celebrate the beauty and diversity of African Americans. The close-ups of illuminated faces filled with jubilant, loving expressions emerge from black backgrounds and capture the spirit of Langston Hughes’ eloquent poem.

“Charles R. Smith Jr. has carefully photographed and selected images that depict African Americans of all ages and hues,” said McCollough.

Charles R. Smith Jr. is a poet and 2008 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award winner of “Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali.” Smith grew up in California and attended the Brooks Institute of Photography.

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. This year’s winner is kekla magoon for “The Rock and the River,” published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. In 1968 Chicago, Sam Childs is living in the shadows of two important people – his father, a civil rights activist working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his older brother “Stick” who has joined the Black Panther Party. These different approaches to achieving racial equality place Sam between the rock and the river.

One King Author Honor Book was selected: “Mare’s War” by tanita s. davis, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

One Illustrator Honor Book was selected: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, published by Disney - Jump at the Sun Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

Members of the 2010 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are: Carole McCollough, Retired faculty, WSU/LIS; Eunice Anderson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; Alan R. Bailey, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.; Brenda Hunter, Atlanta Fulton Public Library, Retired; Jonda C. McNair, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.; Martha Ruff, Prince George’s County Public Library, Oxon Hill, Md.; and Robin Smith, Ensworth School, Nashville, Tenn.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with over 65,000 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 information on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit