Award Booklists


Coretta Scott King Book Awards

med-king.pngDesigned to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.



Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

This picture book biography of the 1980's cultural phenom introduces young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.



Trombone Shorty
Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.



Firebird by Misty Copeland Illustrated by Christopher Myers

American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland encourages a young ballet student, with brown skin like her own, by telling her that she, too, had to learn basic steps and how to be graceful when she was starting out, and that some day, with practice and dedication, the little girl will become a firebird, too. Includes author's note about dancers who led her to find her voice.



Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me
Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty Illustrated by Bryan Collier

"A boy wakes up one morning to find his father gone. At first, he feels lost. But his father has left him a letter filled with advice to guide him through the times he cannot be there"-- Provided by publisher.

Honor Books



I, Too, Am America
I, Too, Am America by Langston Hughes Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Presents the popular poem by one of the central figures in the Harlem Renaissance, highlighting the courage and dignity of the African American Pullman porters in the early twentieth century.



Underground : Finding the Light to Freedom
Underground : Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

"A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nighttime journey punctuated by meetings with friends and enemies, and their final glorious arrival in a place of freedom."



Dave the Potter
Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill Illustrated by Bryan Collier

The life of an astonishingly prolific and skilled potter who lived and died a slave in 19th-century South Carolina is related in simple, powerful sentences that outline the making of a pot.

Honor Books



My People
My People by Langston Hughes Illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Smith interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.

Honor Books



The Blacker the Berry
The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

A collection of poems, including "Golden Goodness," "Cranberry Red," and "Biscuit Brown," celebrating individuality and Afro-American identity.



Let It Shine
Let It Shine by Ashley Bryan Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

Illustrated versions of three well-known hymns.



Moses : When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Moses : When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Describes Tubman's spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude. Tubman would make nineteen subsequent trips back south, never being caught, but none as profound as this first one.



Rosa by Nikki Giovanni Illustrated by Bryan Collier

The story of Rosa Parks and her courageous act of defiance. Provides the story of the young black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Alabama, setting in motion all the events of the Civil Rights Movements that resulted in the end of the segregated south, gave equality to blacks throughout the nation, and forever changed the country in which we all live today....



Ellington Was Not a Street
Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these dedicated souls and others like them not only demonstrated the importance of Black culture in America, but also helped issue in a movement that "changed the world." Their lives and their works inspire us to this day, and serve as a guide to how we approach the challenges of tomorrow.



Beautiful Blackbird
Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

In a story of the Ila people, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew."



Talkin' About Bessie : The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
Talkin' About Bessie : The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Soar along with Bessie Coleman in this inspirational tale of a woman whose determination reached new heights. Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman was always being told what she could & couldn't do. In an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, it was not easy to survive. Bessie didn't let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she vowed to become the first African -American female pilot. Her sturdy faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination. Innovatively told through a series of monologues.



Goin' Someplace Special
Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

In segregated 1950s Nashville, a young African American girl braves a series of indignities and obstacles to get to one of the few integrated places in town: the public library.



Uptown by Bryan Collier Illustrated by Bryan Collier

A tour of the sights of Harlem, including the Metro-North Train, brownstones, shopping on 125th Street, a barber shop, summer basketball, the Boy's Choir, and sunset over the Harlem River.



In the Time of the Drums
In the Time of the Drums by Kim L. Siegelson Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Mentu, an American-born slave boy, watches his beloved grandmother, Twi, lead the insurrection at Teakettle Creek of Ibo people arriving from Africa on a slave ship.



I See the Rhythm
I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus Illustrated by Michele Wood

Chronicles and captures poetically the history, mood, and movement of African American music.



In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall : African Americans Celebrating Fathers
In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall : African Americans Celebrating Fathers by Alan Schroeder Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. An innovative, stunningly illustrated picture book that celebrates the role of fathers in black families. Includes contributions from 12 poets. Illustrated in full colour throughout. Suitable for all ages. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award. 'This stunning homage to fathers offers a textured potpourri of voices and visuals' - Publishers Weekly 'This innovative, stunningly illustrated picture book' - School Library Journal



Minty : A Story of Young Harriet Tubman
Minty : A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Young Harriet Tubman, whose childhood name was Minty, dreams of escaping slavery on the Brodas plantation in the late 1820s.



The Middle Passage : White Ships / Black Cargo
The Middle Passage : White Ships / Black Cargo by Tom Feelings Illustrated by Tom Feelings

The Middle Passage is the name given to one of the most tragic ordeals in history: the cruel and terrifying journey of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean. In this seminal work, master artist Tom Feelings tells the complete story of this horrific diaspora in sixty-four extraordinary narrative paintings. Achingly real, they draw us into the lives of the millions of African men, women, and children who were savagely torn from their beautiful homelands, crowded into disease-ridden "death ships", and transported under nightmarish conditions to the so-called New World. An introduction by noted historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke traces the roots of the Atlantic slave trade and gives a vivid summary of its four centuries of brutality. The Middle Passage reaches us on a visceral level. No one can experience it and remain unmoved. But while we absorb the horror of these images, we also can find some hope in them. They are a tribute to the survival of the human spirit, and the humanity won by the survivors of the Middle Passage belongs to us all.



The Creation
The Creation by James Weldon Johnson Illustrated by James Ransome

A poem based on the story of creation in the Bible.



Soul Looks Back in Wonder
Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Tom Feelings Illustrated by Tom Feelings

In this compelling collection of words and pictures, the voices of thirteen major poets, including Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Walter Dean Myers, rise in response to the dazzling vistas and emotionally vivid portraits of award-winning artist Tom Feelings. A unique and moving collaboration that celebrates the sustaining spirit of African creativity.



The Origin of Life on Earth : An African Creation Myth
The Origin of Life on Earth : An African Creation Myth by David A. Anderson Illustrated by Kathleen Atkins Wilson

Retells the Yoruba creation myth in which the deity Obatala descends from the sky to create the world.



Tar Beach
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold Illustrated by Faith Ringgold

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.



Aida by Leontyne Price Illustrated by Leo Dillon

With depth and understanding, acclaimed diva Leontyne Price retells this famous opera about the beautiful princess of Ethiopia.

Honor Books



Nathaniel Talking
Nathaniel Talking by Eloise Greenfield Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Beautifully composed in a variety of styles--rap, blues, and free verse--these 18 poems offers a black child's insights into his own heart and mind, and into the lives of family and friends. Nine-year-old Nathaniel reflects on what it's like to be curious, smart, and full of ideas.



Mirandy and Brother Wind
Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia C. McKissack Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Mirandy is sure she'll win the cake walk if she can catch Brother Wind for her partner, but he eludes all the tricks her friends advise.



Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe Illustrated by John Steptoe

Mufaro's two beautiful daughters, one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.



Half a Moon and One Whole Star
Half a Moon and One Whole Star by Crescent Dragonwagon Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

While a young girl sleeps, nighttime deepens all around her--in the woods and garden, on the ocean, in the city, and on the porch, where her parents sit.



The Patchwork Quilt
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Using scraps cut from the family's old clothing, Tanya helps her grandmother and mother make a beautiful quilt that tells the story of her family's life.



My Mama Needs Me
My Mama Needs Me by Mildred Pitts Walter Illustrated by Pat Cummings

Jason wants to help, but isn't sure that his mother needs him at all after she brings home a new baby from the hospital.

Honor Books



Black Child
Black Child by Peter Magubane Illustrated by Peter Magubane

The sad, harsh realities of life in south Africa are sensitively revealed in photographs of children's faces.



Mother Crocodile : An Uncle Amadou Tale from Senegal
Mother Crocodile : An Uncle Amadou Tale from Senegal by Rosa Guy Illustrated by John Steptoe

Because Mother Crocodile tells stories of the past, the little crocodiles choose to believe she is crazy until almost too late they learn otherwise.

Honor Books



Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum
Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum by Ashley Bryan Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

Here are five Nigerian folktales, retold in language as rhythmic as the beat of the story-drum, and illustrated with vibrant, evocative woodcuts.



Cornrows by Camille Yarborough Illustrated by Carole Byard

When Mama and Great-Grammaw weave the striking cornrow patterns of Africa into their children's hair, their gentle voices also weave a tale full of pride and heritage.

Honor Books



Something on My Mind
Something on My Mind by Nikki Grimes Illustrated by Tom Feelings

Poems expressing the hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows of growing up.

Honor Books



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.

Honor Books



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.

Honor Books

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