One of the highlights of the year, children’s librarians, educators, and publishers are fixated with the youth book awards which are selected during the Mid-Winter American Library Association meeting. Fortunate committee members travel across the four corners of the United States to meet behind “closed doors” and engage in private conversations that will pick the winners and change the destiny of those titles forever! Their book jackets are proudly adorned with the bright gold medals that distinguish those books from the rest of the collection and become a household name (well at least with the younger crowd). The most familiar of the awards are the John Newbery Award which has been around for over ninety years and the Randolph Caldecott Award which just celebrated its seventy-fifth birthday!! Gaining in audience are the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, founded in 1970, which recognizes outstanding African American authors and illustrators that “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human value” for children and young adults. These titles celebrate diversity in a heartfelt, compassionate manner and are the perfect way to promote Día in your library everyday!
At 9:00 am on a very cold and snowy morning in Philadelphia, the 2014 Coretta Scott King Book Awards were announced to a very enthusiastic audience! The author award went to “P.S. Be Eleven” by Rita Williams Garcia, (Amistad, 2013), a brilliant and humorous stand-alone sequel to “One Crazy Summer“(2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award). These two titles follow the adventures of the three Gaither sisters, as they leave Brooklyn and spent a summer with their mother in Oakland, California in the tumultuous era of the late 1960s. The following year, their father remarries and themes of family and sisterhood are explored. The illustrator award was given to “Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me” illustrated by the talented Bryan Collier (Little, Brown and Company, 2013) and written by Daniel Beaty. This powerful narrative is brought to life by Collier’s breathtaking water colors and collage techniques. For a complete list of the Coretta Scott King Awards, visit the ALA page! For ideas how to program with these titles, the perfect source is The Coretta Scott King Awards, 1970- 2009: 40th Anniversary, edited by Henrietta M. Smith (ALA, 2019) found at your local library.
So, what is your favorite Coretta Scott King award title this year??
Debra S. Gold is blogging on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee and has been a Children’s Librarian for Cuyahoga County Public Library (Cleveland, Ohio) for the past thirty years. She served on the Newbery Committee in 1996, the Caldecott Committee in 2004, and the Coretta Scott Book Award Committee in 2011 and 2012.