Carole Boston Weatherford, Floyd Cooper win 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/24/2022


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO – Carole Boston Weatherford, author of “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” and Floyd Cooper, illustrator of “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre” are the winners of the 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Amber McBride, author of “Me (Moth)”, and Regis & Karan Bethencourt, illustrators of “The Me I Choose To Be” are the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent winners. The awards were announced today at the American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX, held virtually Jan. 21 – 24.

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). The 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 Mrs. 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. 

“Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre”, published by Carlrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group Inc., provides a powerful look at the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. 

Carole Boston Weatherford is a Newbery Honor author, New York Times best-seller and two-time NAACP Image Award winner. Since her 1995 debut, she has published 50-plus books, including multiple Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Awards and Honors.  

“Unspeakable is a poetic account of the infamous Tulsa race riot of 1921.” said Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury Chair Jason Miles Driver, Sr. “Carole Weatherford Boston eloquently details the events leading up to and the aftermath of one of the darkest periods of American history.  The author's note adds valuable context and source notes, making this picture book an invaluable resource for teaching aids related to African American History about how black communities thrived autonomously during post-slavery America.”

Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Award for his Illustrations for the Blacker the Berry and won Coretta Scott King honors for “Brown honey in Broom Wheat Tea”, “Meet Danitra Brown”, and “I Have Heard of a Land”. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he first heard about the Tulsa Race Massacre from his grandfather, who survived it as a young man.  

“Using oil and erasure for his illustrations, the late, great Mr. Cooper brought to life one of America’s darkest and most devastating events in lifelike paintings that are full of emotion and detail.” said Driver.

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 Amber McBride, author for “Me (Moth)” published by Feiwell and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group. This year’s Steptoe illustrator award goes to Regis and Kahran Bethencourt, illustrators of “The Me I Choose to Be” published by Little, Brown, and Company.

“Ms. McBride expertly deploys the novel in verse genre, allowing its precision and emotive storytelling to explore the traumas that Black girls face & the importance of support systems to guide them through the pain.” said Driver. “The narrative balances the wide arc of contemporary school relationships with deep familial relationships, and relationships to the land as well.”

When speaking on the Steptoe Illustrator winners, Driver said, “Although many negative stereotypes are set forth about African American children in America, Photographers Regis and Kahran Bethencourt’s vibrant photographs set the foundation of pride and unlimited potential for all young Black readers. Each photo collage is filled with color and movement, connecting a beautiful Black child to each stanza.”

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: 

“Home Is Not A Country” by Safia Elhillo, published by Make Me A World, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House.

“Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People” by Kekla Magoon, published by Candlewick Press 

“The People Remember” by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Loveis Wise, published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

Three Illustrator Honor Books were selected: 

“Nina: A Story of Nina Simone” illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Traci N. Todd, and published by by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House

“We Wait for the Sun” Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, written by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group

“Soul Food Sunday” illustrated by C.G. Esperanza, written by Winsome Bingham, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS

Members of the 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury are Jason Miles Driver, Sr, Chicago Public Library; Mahasin Jullanar Abuwi Aleem, Oakland Public Library, California; Carmen Lynette Boston, DC Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Maria F. Estrella, Cleveland Public Library; Sheila M. Geraty, Brookwood School Library, Manchester, Massachusetts; Alia R. Jones, University of Cincinnati Libraries; and Lettycia Terrones, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

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