The 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Round Table gifts Book Donation Grants

For Immediate Release
Fri, 09/02/2022


Kevin D. Strowder

Director, Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services

CHICAGO - Each year, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards community offers three underfunded libraries, schools and/or non-traditional organizations that provide educational services to children CSK Book Donation Grants. The grant program provides books submitted for consideration for the Coretta Scott King Book Awards to libraries and other organizations to expand their collections. Each year, three organizations are selected that demonstrate need and potential benefit from receiving the collection. Each library will receive copies of more than 80 titles.  

The 2022 Coretta Scott King Awards Book Donation Grants were awarded to these three programs.

Hilltop Special Services Center in San Francisco, CA works with pregnant teens and teen mothers. The center provides a safe academic environment where students have the opportunity to prepare for post-secondary education, meet graduation requirements, access quality prenatal and parenting education, and receive health and emotional support services. Young women can start at our school while they are expecting & continue after their baby is born. 15 percent of students are foster youth; 24 percent have an IEP (special education) andmany students are English language learners who have immigrated from several countries including Ethiopia, Mexico, & several countries from Central andSouth America.

The center plans to use the CSK books to enhance the learning environment in several ways. There will be books for the young mothers to read aloud with their children as well as books for the mothers to read for their own pleasure. The center has a strong focus on education and literacy for those whose lives have been changed by parenthood while still teens.

Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers is an afterschool program that works to “turn on the lights in the eyes of a child.”  The Center's Arts, Character and Education (ACE) program provides evidence-based after-school programming, summer camp, and teen leadership programming to at-risk youth ages 5-18 in grades 1 –12.

The ACE program provides tutoring, homework assistance, and engaging educational projects to help students become academically competitive; arts training and performance opportunities and exposure in music, dance, drama, spoken word, and martial arts to build confidence, discipline and resilience; and consistent character development.
The Southwest Florida area has seen many attempts to challenge, and suppress any educational,literary, orhistorical materials that depict the truth and effects of racism in the U.S. The center is concerned that this move is already limiting how teachers can frame American history, and that officials and “parent activists” will continue to place pressure on local school boards in order to limit the availability of school library books and classroom teaching on the African American experience. The CSK Book Awards Donation Grant will significantly enhance the ability of our staff to counteract this censorship movement, and to inspire, motivate, and educate the youth we serve in a way that is historically accurate, balanced, and culturally relevant.

The CSK committee believes this center is doing important work to combat censorship not only of books but of groups of people and their heritage. Their proven track record of helping children of color complements our mission.

Son of a Saint (SOAS) is a Black-led organization that serves fatherless young men in New Orleans, 95 percent of whom identify as Black. The mission is to equip fatherless boys with the necessary to grow into successful and self-actualized men. SOAS gives mentees hope, vision, and opportunity through secure and consistent mentorship. SOAS takes a holistic, individualized, and evidence-based approach to addressing fatherlessness.

SOAS was founded by Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, who lost his father, a former New Orleans Saints player, when he was three years old. Sonny was raised by a single-mother who prioritized education, therapy, travel, and community service, but still struggled with anger, confidence, and feelings of abandonment. As an adult, Sonny saw many fatherless boys struggling just as he had. It was this insight that inspired him to launch Son of a Saint in 2011. His mission was simple: to give fatherless boys the support that his mother had given to him, coupled with positive male role models in the form of mentors. Since then the program has grown from serving five boys to now serving more than 200 boys and their families.

A new building is opening for SOAS which includes a space for books. We do not currently have a dedicated library or collection of books. We currently assist mentees with accessing the New Orleans Public library if needed, but our goal is to have literature available in our space so that our boys can find literature without restrictions based on travel to and from libraries and other barriers they may face.

The CSK committee believes the SOAS program is serving an important need for young men in the New Orleans community.  The committee is confident the grant will provide the seed creating a robust collection of books.

Members of the 2022 Coretta Scott King Award Book Donation Grant Committee were Bina Williams (Chair), LaKeshia Darden,  Marguerite Penick, Mary Schreiber, and Nhora Serrano. Staff Liaison was Monica Chapman.