The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
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Look back at our 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards from 2019.
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Once you've joined EMIERT and the CSK Book Awards Community, reach out to us to learn more about how you can volunteer for one of our Standing Committees, including:
- Archives and History Standing Committee
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- Nominating Standing Committee
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- Technology Standing Committee
2021 Author Winner
The 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Author Winner is Jacqueline Woodson, author of "Before the Ever After." “Before the Ever After,” published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, is Jacqueline Woodson’s stirring novel-in-verse which explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the effects of professional sports on the Black body.
Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and in 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She received the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times bestselling memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming,” winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.
2021 Illustrator Winner
The 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner is Frank Morrison, illustrator of “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul". “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is an early indoctrination into hip-hop culture that can be seen through Morrison’s work, which has been dubbed a mash-up of urban mannerism, graffiti and abstract contemporary, and reflects deeply on the lost of human stories from past eras.
Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including “Jazzy Miz Mozetta,” winner of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent; “Little Melba and Her Big Trombone,” a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; “Muhammad Ali,” and “How Sweet the Sound.” Before becoming a children’s book illustrator and fine artist, Morrison toured the globe as a break-dancer. He lives in Georgia with his family.
2021 John Steptoe Award for New Talent (Author)
The 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Awards John Steptoe Award for New Talent Author goes to Tracy Deonn for “Legendborn,” published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy “Legendborn” offers the dark allure of “City of Bones” with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic. 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 is Deonn's debut novel.
2021 Author Honor Books
“All the Days Past, All the Days to Come,” by Mildred D. Taylor, and published by Viking, an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
“King and the Dragonflies,” by Kacen Callender, and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
“Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box,” by Evette Dionne, and published by Viking an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
2021 Illustrator Honor Books
“Magnificent Homespun Brown,” illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, written by Samara Cole Doyon, and published by Tilbury House Publishers
“Exquisite: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks,” illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera, written by Suzanne Slade, and published by Abrams Brooks for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS
“Me and Mama,” illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera, and published by Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Read the complete press release to the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Winners and Honors here.
2021 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement (Practitioner)
Dorothy L. Guthrie is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.
Dorothy L. Guthrie is an award-winning retired librarian, district administrator, author and school board member. A respected children’s literature advocate, Guthrie promotes and affirms the rich perspectives of African Americans. Her work, “Integrating African American Literature in the Library and Classroom,” inspires educators with African American literature. Guthrie founded the first African American museum in her home, Gaston County, North Carolina.
Read the complete press release to the 2021 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement winner here.
Learn more about the Youth Media Awards and the other 2021 Award Winners here.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seal images and award names are solely and exclusively owned by the American Library Association.
For questions or more information, contact ALA Staff Liaison Monica Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-280-4297