Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

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The Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement was established in 2010 and recognizes outstanding African-American authors, illustrators or author/illustrators and practitioners for lasting and significant contributions to youth or young adult literature. In even-numbered years, the award will be given to authors, illustrators or author/illustrators; in odd-number years, practitioners will be recognized. Practitioner will be honored for substantial  contributions through active engagement with youth using award-winning African American literature for children and/or young adults, via implementation of reading and reading related activities/programs.  

Deborah D. Taylor

Deborah D. Taylor 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.

Taylor's career in public service began more than 40 years ago with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, where she is currently coordinator of School and Student Services. Her career has been spent as mentor, educator and literacy advocate for young adults. As an inspiring young adult librarian, leader in national associations and university instructor, she has been distinctly effective in introducing young people and her professional colleagues to the outstanding work of African American authors. 


Patricia and Frederick McKissack

“Authors Patricia and Researcher Fredrick McKissack are the winners of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award is presented in even years to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, and who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.

Patricia McKissack and her late husband Fredrick McKissack, both natives of Tennessee, began their writing and research partnership in the 1980’s.Their subject matter from family-based folklore to nonfiction titles, are scholarly researched and written with accurate, authentic text, creating a cultural transmission of history. Their immense range of topics are informative, readable and enjoyable, covering accounts from slavery days to biographical studies of noted men and women in African American history past and present.”

Demetria Tucker "Demetria Tucker has served as youth services coordinator within the Roanoke (Va.) Public Library System and library media specialist at the Forest Park Elementary School, where she was selected 2007 Teacher of the Year. As family and youth services librarian for the Pearl Bailey Library, a branch of the Newport News (Va.) Public Library System, Tucker now coordinates a youth leadership program, a teen urban literature club and many other programs that support the youth of her community."

Ashley Bryan "Ashley Bryan, author, folklorist, poet and illustrator, couples a melodic voice to his brilliant artwork, transcending literary and artistic genres that leave readers unimaginably satisfied,” stated Award Committee Chair Pauletta Brown Bracy.

Storyteller, artist, author, poet and musician, Ashley Bryan created his first children’s book in first grade. He grew up in the Bronx and in 1962, he became the first African American to both write and illustrate a children’s book.  After a successful teaching career, Bryan left academia to pursue creation of his own artwork.  He has since garnered numerous awards for his significant and lasting literary contribution of poetry, spirituals and story."

Dr. Henrietta Mays Smith Dr. Henrietta Mays Smith, professor emerita at the University of South Florida School Information,is the winner of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Practitioner Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“Dr. Smith’s life’s work has influenced generations of library professionals and readers, and embodies the essence of this lifetime achievement award,” said Barbara Jones Clark, award committee chair.

Smith began her career as a children’s librarian and storyteller in the New York public library system in 1948. After receiving her Ph.D., Smith worked at Florida Atlantic University for 10 years before becoming the first African American faculty member at the USF School of Information. Retiring in 1993, she remains on the faculty as professor emerita.

Smith has served in numerous capacities within the ALA and has served on the Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, Wilder and Pura Belpré award selection committees. As part of the Coretta Scott King Task Force since its inception, Smith has edited four volumes about the history of the award.

Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers is the winner of the first Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“Myers’ body of work offers a mirror, validating lives of young people whose varied existence remains in the shadows virtually invisible to the larger world,” stated Barbara Jones Clark, Award Committee Chair.

Critically acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers has redefined the image of African American youth. He has garnered major youth literary awards: five Coretta Scott King Awards, four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards and the first Michael L. Printz Award. He is a two-time Newbery Honor medalist, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a two-time Jane Addams Children’s Book Award winner and a five-time Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor recipient.  Myers received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for “lifetime contribution to young adult literature” in 1994, and was named the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecturer.

Myers’ body of work is chiefly fiction and also includes biography, poetry, history and memoir. The community of Harlem and ongoing dialogues with today’s youth serve as his muse. He writes authentically in the voice of young people. He is best known for creating vivid, unflinching stories that speak candidly of the lives of teens. For four decades, his characters have wrestled with life changing decisions (“Scorpions”), romance (“Amiri & Odette”), family relationships (“Somewhere in the Darkness” and “Motown and Didi”) and friendships(“Mojo and the Russians”). While his stories often incorporate humor, music, sports and adventure, they also address challenging themes such as incarceration (“Monster”), and war (“Fallen Angels” and “Sunrise Over Fallujah”).

Myers resides in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his wife Constance and is the father of three adult children. He often collaborates with his son, illustrator Christopher Myers (“Harlem,” “Jazz” and “Looking Like Me).” Myers received his B.A. degree from Empire State College, State University of New York.

For more information, contact:
Martha Eberhart, Reference Librarian
Phone: 218-726-8733
Fax: 218-726-7481
416 Library Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

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Revised and updated 2/10/15

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Last modified: February 12, 2015
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