by Teresa Walls
While registering for this year’s ALA Annual Conference, I was thrilled to learn of the American Library Association’s Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)’s special event, “Lift Every Voice and Read: Everything you wanted to know about the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles, and more“, which will be held Monday afternoon, July 13. Since it is a special event, there is a $100 registration fee in addition to regular conference registration. This extra fee includes a copy of The Coretta Scott King Book Awards 1971-2009 (40th Anniversary edtion), Henrietta M. Smith, editor, and a ticket to the 2009 Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast the next morning. I can’t wait! Not only will it be a fantastic time, it will be invaluable to me as I help lead a new addition to our library’s mock award events.
As part of the Allen County (IN) Public Library’s Children’s Services department’s annual mock award discussion and election programs, this year we are staring our Mock Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Award discussion and election program. You are invited to join us on this adventure as we discover and discuss the books of 2009 and select our own 2010 Mock Coretta Scott King Book awards, using the criteria of the real Coretta Scott King Book Award. We offer online discuss all year via the program’s blog. The in-person discussion and election will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, January 17, 2010, at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The real awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Committee of the American Library Association’s Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). This committee presents three awards: CSK Author Award, CSK Illustrator Award, and the John Steptoe Award for New Talent.
The purpose of the awards is, as written on the ALA EMIERT’s The Coretta Scott King Book Award’s Selection Process page, “to encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts, including biographical, historical and social history treatments by African American authors and illustrators.” Works under consideration must be original work published in the U.S. by an African American writer or illustrator in which the African American experience is portrayed. The work must be quality writing and illustration for youth and “seek to motivate readers to develop their own attitudes and behaviors as well as comprehend their personal duty and responsibility as citizens in a pluralistic society.”
Determining eligibility in some cases will be a bit of a challenge. There have been several books that topic-wise are right in line, but after searching more extensively, I learned the authors aren’t eligible. I have been debating whether I should include determination of author/illustrator eligibility as part of the process of the participants’ discussion on the blog. After having read several spirited discussions including this January 27, 2009 post on Read Roger, the blog of Horn Book’s Editor Roger Sutton, I lean toward including only titles in which we have no doubt about the author/illustrator’s eligibility. What are your thoughts?
There is a submission process for the real Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Our mock award titles will be selected based on the suggestions of participants and various review sources including basic review journals and blogs such as The Brown Bookshelf and Black Threads in Kid’s Lit.
Here’s to the 40th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Award! And many many many more!