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Coretta Scott King Book Awards

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The Coretta Scott King Awards are presented annually by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association to an African American author and an African American illustrator for an outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution published during the previous year. The award was established in 1969 and designed to commemorate the life and work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination in continuing to work for peace and world brotherhood. The separate award for illustrator was added in 1979.

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2014

Winner

P.S. Be Eleven
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn, where they adapt to new feelings of independence while managing changes large and small, from Pa's new girlfriend to a very different Uncle Darnell's return from Vietnam.

2013

Winner

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney

"Hand in Hand" presents the stories of 10 men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. Men profiled include Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Barack H. Obama II. Illustrations.

2012

Winner

Heart and Soul : The Story of America and African Americans
Heart and Soul : The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

A simple introduction to African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama.

2011

Winner

One Crazy Summer
One Crazy Summer by Rita Willimas-Garcia

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

2010

Winner

Bad news for outlaws : the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshall
Bad news for outlaws : the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

This biography profiles the life of Bass Reeves, a former slave who was recruited as a deputy United States Marshal in the area that was to become Oklahoma.

Honor Books

2009

Winner

We Are the Ship : The Story of Negro League Baseball
We Are the Ship : The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson.

2008

Winner

Elijah of Buxton
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

2007

Winner

Copper Sun
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

Two fifteen-year-old girls--one a slave and the other an indentured servant--escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

2006

Winner

Day of Tears : A Novel in Dialogue
Day of Tears : A Novel in Dialogue by Julius Lester

Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift over slavery has ripped the Butler household apart. Now, to pay off debts, Pierce Butler wants to cash in his slave "assets", possibly including Emma.

2005

Winner

Remember : The Journey to School Integration
Remember : The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison has collected a treasure chest of archival photographs that depict the historical events surrounding school desegregation. These unforgettable images serve as the inspiration for Ms. Morrison's text-a fictional account of the dialogue and emotions of the children who lived during the era of "separate but equal" schooling. Remember is a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history and its relevance to us today. Remember will be published on the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision ending legal school segregation, handed down on May 17, 1954.

2004

Winner

The First Part Last
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Bobby's carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.

2003

Winner

Bronx Masquerade
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they've written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.

2002

Winner

The Land
The Land by Mildred D. Taylor

After the Civil War Paul, the son of a white father and a black mother, finds himself caught between the two worlds of colored folks and white folks as he pursues his dream of owning land of his own.

2001

Winner

Miracle's Boys
Miracle's Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Twelve-year-old Lafayette's close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.

2000

Winner

Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

1999

Winner

Heaven
Heaven by Angela Johnson

You never know what's gonna come down -- in Heaven. At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma's hands and Pops's love for ice cream, that her brother doesn't get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. But Marley doesn't know all she thinks she does, because she doesn't know the truth. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into liars. It makes her brother a stranger and Uncle Jack an even bigger mystery. All of a sudden, Marley doesn't know who she is anymore and can only turn to the family she no longer trusts to find out. Truth often brings change. Sometimes that change is for the good. Sometimes it isn't. Coretta Scott King award-winning author Angela Johnson writes a poignant novel of deception and self-discovery -- about finding the truth and knowing what to do when truth is at hand.

1998

Winner

Forged by Fire
Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper

When Gerald was a child he was fascinated by fire. But fire is dangerous and powerful, and tragedy strikes. His substance-addicted mother is taken from him. Then he loses the loving generosity of a favorite aunt. A brutal stepfather with a flaming temper and an evil secret makes his life miserable. The one bright light in Gerald's life is his little half sister, Angel, whom he struggles to protect from her father, Jordan Sparks, who abuses her, and from their mother, whose irresponsible behavior forces Gerald to work hard to keep the family together. As a teenager, Gerald finds success as a member of the Hazelwood Tigers basketball team, while Angel develops her talents as a dancer. Trouble still haunts them, however, and Gerald learns, painfully, that young friends can die and old enemies must be faced. In the end he must stand up to his stepfather alone in a blazing confrontation. Sharon M. Draper has interwoven characters and events from her previous novel, Tears of a Tiger, in this unflinchingly realistic portrayal of poverty and child abuse. It is an inspiring story of a young man who rises above the tragic circumstances of his life by drawing on the love and strength of family and friends.

1997

Winner

Slam
Slam by Walter Dean Myers

An exciting, eye-catching repackage of acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers' bestselling paperbacks, to coincide with the publication of SUNRISE OVER FALLUJA in hardcover. Seventeen-year-old Greg "Slam" Harris can do it all on the basketball court. He's seen ballplayers come and go, and he knows he could be one of the lucky ones. Maybe he'll make it to the top. Or maybe he'll stumble along the way. Slam's grades aren't that hot. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up. Slam never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn't have the ball.

1996

Winner

Her Stories
Her Stories by Virginia Hamilton Illustrated by Leo Dillon

In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

1995

Winner

Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. McKissack

Rich in historical detail and filled with luminous illustrations, this poignant book movingly describes the holiday celebrations of both slaves and slave owners on a pre-Civil War plantation. The year is 1859, and it's Christmastime on a Virginia Plantation. The slaves are cleaning and setting up the Big House--where their masters live--for the festivities. The Big House is filled with warmth, colorful decorations, and yummy food...but there is talk of war and a sense that times may be changing. In the quarters--where the slaves live--conditions are poor, dirty, and cold, but the slaves are filled with hope for better times ahead, and they sing songs of freedom. Moving deftly between two worlds, this beautifully illustrated book is a historical tale as well as a holiday treat.

1994

Winner

Toning the Sweep
Toning the Sweep by Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson's Coretta Scott King Award winning novel that traces three generations of African American women as they learn one another's truths. Three generations of African American women, each holding on to a separate truth. Their story -- encompassing racism and murder as well as the family commonplaces that make a life -- is one that readers will never forget.

1993

Winner

The Dark-Thirty : Southern Tales of the Supernatural
The Dark-Thirty : Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia C. McKissack

A collection of ghost stories with African American themes, designed to be told during the Dark Thirty--the half hour before sunset--when ghosts seem all too believable.

1992

Winner

Now is Your Time : The African American Struggle for Freedom
Now is Your Time : The African American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers

History has made me an African American. It is an Africa that I have come from, and an America that I have helped to create. Since they were first brought as captives to Virginia, the people who would become African Americans have struggled for freedom. Thousands fought for the rights of all Americans during the Revolutionary War, and for their own rights during the Civil War. On the battlefield, through education, and through their creative genius, they have worked toward one goal: that the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be denied no one. Fired by the legacy of men and women like Abd al Rahman Ibrahima, Ida B. Wells, and George Latimer, the struggle continues today. Here is African-American history, told through the stories of the people whose experiences have shaped and continue to shape the America in which we live.

1991

Winner

The Road to Memphis
The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor

It is 1941, and while America is on the verge of war, Cassie is fighting a battle of her own. She is not prepared for the violent explosion when her black friend lashes out at his white tormentors, an action unheard of in Mississippi.

1990

Winner

A Long Hard Journey : The Story of the Pullman Porter
A Long Hard Journey : The Story of the Pullman Porter by Patricia C. McKissack

A chronicle of the first black-controlled union, made up of Pullman porters, who after years of unfair labor practices staged a battle against a corporate giant resulting in a "David and Goliath" ending.

1989

Winner

Fallen Angels
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.

1988

Winner

The Friendship
The Friendship by Mildred D. Taylor

Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper in rural Mississippi in the 1930s.

1987

Winner

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World
Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter

Suffering in a family full of females, ten-year-old Justin feels that cleaning and keeping house are women's work until he spends time on his beloved grandfather's ranch.

1986

Winner

The People Could Fly : American Black Folktales
The People Could Fly : American Black Folktales by Virgina Hamilton Illustrated by Leo Dillon

Retold Afro-American folktales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope.

1985

Winner

Motown and Didi
Motown and Didi by Walter Dean Myers

Motown lives in a burned-out building one floor above the rats, searching out jobs every day, working his muscles every night, keeping strong, surviving. Didi lives in her cool dream bubble, untouched by the Harlem heat that beats down on her brother until only drugs can soothe him. Didi escapes, without needles, in her tidy plans and stainless visions, etchings of ivycovered colleges where her true life will begin. Didi can survive inside her own safe mind, until Motown steps into her real world and makes it bearable. Together they can stand the often brutal present. What about the future?

1984

Winner

Everett Anderson's Goodbye
Everett Anderson's Goodbye by Lucille Clifton

Everett Anderson has a difficult time coming to terms with his grief after his father dies.

1983

Winner

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush
Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virgina Hamilton

The first time Teresa saw Brother was the way she would think of him ever after. Tree fell head over heels for him. It was love at first sight in a wild beating of her heart that took her breath. But it was a dark Friday three weeks later when it rained, hard and wicked, before she knew Brother Rush was a ghost.Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home enough to ease the terrible longing? Whatever secrets he held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.

1982

Winner

Let the Circle Be Unbroken
Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor

Four black children growing up in rural Mississippi during the Depression experience racial antagonisms and hard times, but learn from their parents the pride and self-respect they need to survive.

1981

Winner

This Life
This Life by Sidney Poitier

An autobiography of the actor who arrived in Miami, from the Bahamas, at age sixteen. Some of his movies have been "A Raisin in the Sun," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and "In the Heat of the Night."

1980

Winner

The Young Landlords
The Young Landlords by Walter Dean Myers

If you were looking for a real ghetto dump, you couldn't beat The Stratford Arms. There was Askia Ben Kenobi throwing karate chops upstairs, Petey Darden making booze downstairs, and Mrs. Brown grieving for Jack Johnson, who'd died for the third time in a month and not a rent payer in the bunch. Still, when Paul Williams and the Action Group got the Arms for one dollar, they thought they had it made. But when their friend Chris was arrested for stealing stereos and Dean's dog started biting fire hydrants and Gloria started kissing, being a landlord turned out to be a lot more work than being a kid.

1979

Winner

Escape to Freedom
Escape to Freedom by Ossie Davis

Douglass overcame his beginnings as a slave to become the first black man to hold a diplomatic office. He was a great orator and also wrote several books. This play emphasizes his contributions.

1978

Winner

Africa Dream
Africa Dream by Eloise Greenfield Illustrated by Carole Byard

An African-American child dreams of long-ago Africa, where she sees animals, shops in a marketplace, reads strange words from an old book, and returns to the village where her long-ago granddaddy welcomes her.

1977

Winner

The Story of Stevie Wonder
The Story of Stevie Wonder by James Haskins

A biography of the blind composer, pianist, and singer who was a child prodigy and went on to win nine Grammy awards.

1976

Winner

Duey's Tale
Duey's Tale by Pearl Bailey

A maple seedling becomes separated from his mother tree, makes friends with a bottle and a log, and searches for his own place in life.

1975

Winner

The Legend of Africana
The Legend of Africana by Dorothy Robinson

An allegorical tale of Africa's struggle against the ravishment of its people and country.

Honor Books

1974

Winner

Ray Charles
Ray Charles by Sharon Bell Mathis Illustrated by George Ford

As a young boy he fell in love with music, and as a man, the world fell in love with his music. Ray Charles and his soulful, passionate rhythms and melodies have been embraced around the world for decades. Now, in this beautiful new edition of an award-winning biography, readers can follow Charles from his boyhood, when he lost his sight and learned to read and write music in Braille, until the age of 40, when he had become a world-renowned jazz and blues musician packing auditoriums and stadiums.

1973

Winner

I Never Had it Made : The Autobiography of Jackie Robinson
I Never Had it Made : The Autobiography of Jackie Robinson by Jackie Robinson

Before Barry Bonds, before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball's stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever. I Never Had It Made is Robinson's own candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues. I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson's early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school's first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the "Noble Experiment" -- Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball. More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson's life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr. Originally published the year Robinson died, I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.

Honor Books

1972

Winner

17 Black Artists
17 Black Artists by Elton C. Fax

Biographies of seventeen black artists.

Honor Books

1971

1970

Winner

Martin Luther King, Jr. : Man of Peace
Martin Luther King, Jr. : Man of Peace by Lillie Patterson

A biography of the minister, orator, and crusader for equal civil rights who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Honor Books

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