Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Children's Literature Guide: Coretta Scott King Award Winners

Guide for children's literature awards winners

About the Award

Established in 1969, the Coretta Scott King Award is a book award presented annually to an African American author and an African American illustrator for outstanding contributions published during the previous year. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King who both had a passion for peace and brotherhood. To learn more about the award, visit:

A listing of the Coretta Scott King Award winners housed in the Curriculum Materials/Media Center is below. These books are organized according to the Library of Congress system of classification.

Award Winners

Award Date Title/ Author and Illustrator Call Number


Author: Gone crazy in Alabama / Williams-Garcia, Rita.

Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles's half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven't spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that's been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

PZ7 .W6713 GON 2015

Illustrator: Trombone Shorty / Andrews, Troy ; illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Hailing from the Tremâe 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.

ML3930 .A53 A3 2015


Author: Brown girl dreaming / Woodson, Jacqueline.

The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South.

PS3573.O64524 Z46 2014

Illustrator: Firebird / Copeland, Misty ; 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.

PZ7 .C7887 FIR 2014


Author: P.S. Be eleven / Williams-Garcia, Rita.

The Gaither sisters are back in Brooklyn, where changes large and small come to their household as they grow up during the turbulent 1960s.

PZ7 .W6713 PAAM 2013

Illustrator: Knock knock : my dad's dream for me / Beaty, Daniel.

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.

PZ7 .B3805475 KN 2013


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

Presents the stories of ten African-American men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day.

E185.86 .P56 2012

Illustrator: I Too, Am America illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Langston Hughes

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.

PS3515 .U274 I3 2012


Author: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans / written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

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

E185 .N427 2011

Illustrator: Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom / written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans.

"A family silently crawls along the ground. They run barefoot through unlit woods, sleep beneath bushes, take shelter in a kind stranger's home. Where are they heading? They are heading for Freedom by way of the Underground Railroad."--from publisher description

Not in collection


Author: One crazy summer / Williams-Garcia, Rita.

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.

PZ7 .W6713 ON 2010

Illustrator: Dave the potter : artist, poet, slave / illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill.

Chronicles the life of Dave, a nineteenth-century slave who went on to become an influential poet, artist, and potter.

NK 4210 .D247 H55 2010


Author: Bad news for outlaws : the remarkable life of Bass Reeves, deputy U.S. marshal / Vaunda Micheaux Nelson ; illustrations by R. Gregory Christie.

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.

F697 .R44 N45 2009

Illustrator: My people / Langston Hughes ; photographs 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.

PS3515 .U274 M9 2009


Author: We are the ship : the story of Negro League baseball / 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.

GV875 .A1 N45 2008

Illustrator: The blacker the berry : poems / Joyce Carol Thomas.

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

PS3570 .H565 B53 2008


Author: Elijah of Buxton / 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.

PZ7 .C94137 EL 2007

Illustrator: Let it shine : three favorite spirituals / [illustrated by] Ashley Bryan

Illustrated versions of three well-known hymns.

BV353 .L48 2007


Author: Copper sun / Sharon M. 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.

PZ7.D78325 COP 2006

Illustrator: Moses : when Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom / 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.

E444 .T82 W43 2006X


Author: Day of tears : a novel in dialogue / 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.

PZ7 .L5629 DA 2005

Illustrator: Rosa / 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. She had not sought this moment but she was ready for it. When the policeman bent down to ask "Auntie, are you going to move?" all the strength of all the people through all those many years joined in her. She said, "No." An inspiring account of an event that shaped American history. Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This picture-book tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Award-winning poet, writer, and activist Nikki Giovanni's evocative text combines with Bryan Collier's striking cut-paper images to retell the story of this historic event from a wholly unique and original perspective.

F334 .M753 P38427 2005


Author: Remember : the journey to school integration / 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.

LC214.2 .M67 2004

Illustrator: Ellington was not a street / written by Ntozake Shange ; illustrations by Kadir Nelson

PS3569.H3324 E45 2004


Author: The first part last / Angela Johnson

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

PZ7.J629 FI 2003

The Days of Jubille: The End of Slavery in the United States / Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack

Not in collection

Illustrator: Beautiful Blackbird / 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."

PZ8.1 .B838 BG 2003


Author: 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.

PZ7.G88429 BR 2002

Illustrator: Talkin' about Bessie : the story of aviator Elizabeth Coleman / by Nikki Grimes ; illustrated by E.B. Lewis

A biography of the first licensed female African American pilot.

TL540.C646 G75 2002


Author: The land / 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.

PZ7.T21723 LAN 2001

Illustrator: Goin' someplace special / Patricia C. McKissack ; 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.

PZ7.M478693 GO 2001


Author: Miracle's boys / 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.

PZ7.W868 MI 2000

Illustrator: Uptown / 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.

PZ7.C67759 UP 2000


Author: Bud, not Buddy / 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.

PZ7.C94137 BU 1999

Illustrator: In the time of the drums / 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.

PZ7.S56657 IN 1999