Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

Titles Owned by the Kathryn A. Martin Library

The Coretta Scott King Award was established in 1970 and is given to an African American authors and African American illustrators whose books promote an understanding and appreciation of the "American Dream." The award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of the American Library Association's Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table ( EMIERT). Authors and illustrators of African descent whose distinguished books promote an understanding and appreciation of the "American Dream." The author award started in 1970 and the first illustrator award was given in 1974. The award information was retrieved from the Coretta Scott King Book Awards - All Recipients, 1970 - presnt. See also the Coretta Scott King Book Award-winning Authors, Illustrators, & Books Curricular Resource Center by talks from African American authors and illustrators, audio records, book readings as well as lesson plans.


Andrew, Troy. (2015). Trombone Shorty. (Words by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews ; pictures by Bryan Collier). New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers.

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.


Copeland, Misty. (2014). Firebird : Ballerina Misty Copeland shows a young girl how to dance like the firebird. (Illustrated by Christopher Myers). New York, NY : G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA). PRIM-FIC C7826fi 

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.


Beaty, Daniel. (2013). Knock knock : my dad's dream for me. (Illustrated by Bryan Collier). New York : Little, Brown and Company. PRIM-FIC B3698kn

"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".


Hughes, Langston. (2012). I, too, am America. (Illustrated by Bryan Collier). New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 811.52 H893i

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.


Evans, Shane. (2011). Underground. New York : Roaring Brook Press. 973.7 E92u

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


Hill, Laban Carrick. (2010). Dave the potter : artist, poet, slave. (Illustrated by Bryan Collier). New York : Little, Brown. 738.092 H646d

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


Hughes, Langston. (2009). My people. (Photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr.). New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ginee seo books. 811.52 H893m

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.


Thomas, Joyce Carol. (2008). The blacker the berry : poems. (Illustrated by Floyd Cooper). New York : HarperCollins/Amistad. 811.54 T4581b 

A collection of poems celebrating all the colors that black (skin) can be. What shade is human? -- The blacker the berry -- Raspberry black -- Golden goodness -- Coffee will make you black -- Cranberry Red -- Sunshine girl -- Biscuit Brown -- Skin deep -- Night shade -- Snowberries -- Toast -- Color struck.


Let it shine : three favorite spirituals. (2007). (Illustrated by Ashley Bryan). New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 782.253 B915L 

Illustrated versions of three well-known spirituals. This little light of mine -- When the saints go marching in -- He’s got the whole world in His hands.


Weatherford, Carole Boston. (2006). Moses : when Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom. (Illustrated by Kadir Nelson) New York : Hyperion Books for Children. PRIM-FIC W3621mo

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.


Giovanni, Nikki. (2005). Rosa. (Illustrated by Bryan Collier). New York : Henry Holt. 323.09 G512r

A retelling of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. On December 1, 1955. Mrs. Parks’ quiet determination changed race relations in the U.S. forever.


Shange, Ntozake. (2004). Ellington was not a street . (Illustrations by Kadir Nelson). New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 811.54 S5286el

At a time when they were restricted in where they could live or work, a dedicated group of innovators met in the author's childhood home. Together and separately they reshaped the influence of Black culture in America, and created a movement that changed the world.


Bryan, Ashley. (2003). Beautiful blackbird. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 398.2 B9153be

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."


Grimes. Nikki. (2002). Talkin' about Bessie : the story of aviator Elizabeth Coleman . (Illustrated by E. B. Lewis). New York : Orchard Books. 921 C692g

A biography of the woman who became the first licensed Afro-American pilot.


McKissack, Pat. (2001). Goin' someplace special. (Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney). New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers. PRIM-FIC M1584GO

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.


Collier, Bryan. (2000). Uptown. New York : Henry Holt. PRIM-FIC C6988UP

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.


Siegelson, Kim L. (1999). In the time of the drums. (Illustrated by Brian Pinkney). New York : Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books. PRIM-FIC S5715in

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.


Wood, Michele. (1998). I see the rhythm. (Paintings by Michele Wood; text by Toyomi Igus). San Francisco, CA : Children's Book Press. 780.89 I24i

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


Steptoe, Javaka. (1997). In daddy's arms I am tall : African Americans celebrating fathers. New York : Lee & Low Books. 811 I35

A collection of poems celebrating African-American fathers by Angela Johnson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Carole Boston Weatherford, and others.


Schroeder, Alan (1996). Minty : a story of young Harriet Tubman. (Pictures by Jerry Pinkney). New York : Dial Books for Young Readers. 973.7 S381m

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


Feelings, Tom. (1995). The middle passage : white ships/black cargo . New York : Dial Books. 759.13 F295m

The story of the journey that brought Africans to the Americans into slavery told through drawings.


Johnson, James Weldon. (1994). The creation. (Illustrated by James E. Ransome). New York : Holiday House. 811.52 J675cr

A poem based on the story of creation from the first book of the Bible.


Feelings, Tom. (1993). Soul looks back in wonder. (Illustrated by Tom Feelings ; poems by Maya al.). New York : Dial Books. 811 S722

Artwork and poems by such writers as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Askia Toure portray the creativity, strength, and beauty of their African American heritage.


Anderson, David A. (1991). The origin of life on earth : an African creation myth. (Illustrated by Kathleen Atkins Wilson ; design by Pete Traynor). Mt. Airy, MD. : Sights Productions. 398.2 A5462o

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


Ringgold, Faith. (1991). Tar Beach. New York : Crown Publishers. PRIM-FIC R5823TA

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.


Price, Leontyne. (1990). Aïda. (Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillion). San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 782.1 P9458ai

Retells the story of Verdi's opera in which the love of the enslaved Ethiopian princess for an Egyptian general brings tragedy to all involved.


Greenfield, Elosie. (1988). Nathaniel talking. (Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist). New York : Black Butterfly Children's Books. 811.54 G5634

Poems celebrating life as a boy sees it.


McKissack, Pat. (1988). Mirandy and Brother Wind. (by Patricia C. McKissack ; illustrated by Jerry Pinkney). New York : Knopf. PRIM-FIC M1584MIR

To win first prize in the Junior Cakewalk, Mirandy tries to capture the wind for her partner.


Steptoe, John. (1987). Mufaro's beautiful daughters : an African tale. New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. PRIM-FIC S8379MU

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


Dragonwagon, Crescent. (1986). Half a moon and one whole star. (Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney). New York : Macmillan. PRIM-FIC D7593ha

The summer night is full of wonderful sounds and scents as Susan falls asleep.


Flournoy, Valerie. (1985). The patchwork quilt. (Pictures by Jerry Pinkney). New York : Dial Books for Young Readers. PRIM-FIC F6435PA

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.


No award


Walter, Mildred Pitts. (1983). My mama needs me . (Pictures by Pat Cummings). New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. PRIM-FIC W2332my

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.


Mugabane, Peter. (1982). Black child. New York : Knopf. 968 M213b

Shows what it was like to grow up under apartheid.


Guy, Rosa . (1981). Mother Crocodile = Maman-Caïman . (by Birago Diop ; translated and adapted by Rosa Guy ; illustrated by John Steptoe). New York : Delacorte Press. PRIM-FIC D5933ma

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


Bryan, Ashley. (1987, c1980). Beat the story-drum, pum-pum. New York : Aladdin Books ; London : Collier Macmillan. 398.2 B9153bea

Five traditional Nigerian tales include "Hen and Frog," "Why Bush Cow and Elephant are Bad Friends," "The Husband Who Counted the Spoonfuls" "Why Frog and Snake Never Play Together," and "How Animals Got Their Tails."


Yarbrough, Camille. (1979). Cornrows. (Illustrated by Carole Byard). New York : Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. PRIM-FIC Y265co

Explains how the hair style of cornrows, a symbol in Africa since ancient times, can today in this country symbolize the courage of outstanding Afro-Americans.


Grimes, Nikki. (1978). Something on my mind. (Illustrated by Tom Feeling). New York : Dial Press.

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


Greenfield, Eloise. (1977). Africa dream. (Illustrated by Carole Byard). New York, NY : HarperCollins Publishers. PRIM-FIC G8124af

A black child's dreams are filled with the images of the people and places of Africa.


No award


No award


No award


Mathis, Sharon Bell. (2002). Ray Charles. (Illustrated by George Ford). (New ed.). New York : Lee & Low ; London : Turnaround. 921 C4768ma

Mathis, Sharon Bell. (1973). Ray Charles. (Illustrated by George Ford). New York : Crowell. 921 C4768ma

Tells the rags-to-riches story of Ray Charles whose mix of jazz, blues and gospel music won him international recognition.

Prior to 1974, the CSK Award was given to authors only.

For more information, contact:
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Phone: 218-726-7861
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