Coretta Scott King Book Awards: 50 Years of Excellence

All year long the American Library Association and libraries across the nation are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. These awards recognize the most outstanding books for youth by African American authors and illustrators that reflect African American culture and universal human values. This award honors the work of Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.

You’ve probably read many Coretta Scott King Award books without even realizing it. One of my favorites is Bud, Not Buddy, and I'm recommending some other fantastic books here. For more, check out our booklists 50 Years of CSK: Author Award Winners and 50 Years of CSK: Illustrator Award Winners.

Elijah of Buxton: This captivating tale by Christopher Paul Curtis chronicles the adventures of young Elijah, who was born free during the time of slavery in Buxton, a free settlement in Ontario, Canada. 

In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: This collection of poems about black fatherhood is touching, and the art is heroic.

We Are the Ship: Kadir Nelson's seminal work about the story of the Negro baseball leagues is fascinating, and beautifully written and illustrated. This one is a sure winner for baseball fans like me!

I, Too, Am America: Langston Hughes' lyrical poem about Pullman Porters is transformed into a brilliant artistic expression by illustrator Bryan Collier. 

A Few Red Drops: This masterpiece by 2019 Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Claire Hartfield explores the events leading up to the 1919 Chicago race riots. This is a must-read for Chicago history enthusiasts and educators. 

To learn more, watch this video about the history of the Coretta Scott King Awards.