Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

coretta_40To celebrate Black History Month, Visibility @ your library, the Public Information Office and Campaign for America’s Libraries blog, is highlighting the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and its fortieth anniversary celebration.

Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney, vice-president and executive editor of Scholastic, Inc., calls the awards, ‘40 and Fabulous,’ in the February 1, 2009, issue of Booklist. She marvels that “what started with a scattering of librarians bringing a candle into a dark room has grown a hundredfold to thousands of committed people – librarians, publishers, teachers, parents, retailers – who hold a bright ray of determination” for the Coretta Scott King Awards. She serves as the Honorary Chair of the awards and leads an assemblage to publishers dedicated to the award’s public awareness.

The awards are also featured on Thinkfinity.org/@yourlibrary, a collection of resources featuring librarian specific content from ALA. Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation’s comprehensive program and online portal to 55,000 standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and other educational resources provided in partnership with many of the nation’s leading educational and literacy organizations. Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy.

This year’s King award winners include Kadir Nelson, author of “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” and Floyd Cooper, illustrator of “The Blacker the Berry.” Shadra Strickland, illustrator of “Bird,” is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: “The Blacker the Berry” by Joyce Carol Thomas, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; “Keeping the Night Watch” by Hope Anita Smith, published by Henry Holt and Company; and “Becoming Billie Holiday” by Carole Boston Weatherford, published by Wordsong, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press, Inc.

Three Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball” written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, published by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group; “Before John Was a Jazz Giant” by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sean Qualls, published by Henry Holt and Company; and “The Moon Over Star” by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

The awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) to encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts.

The 2009 Coretta Scott King Book Award Jury include Jury Chair Darwin Henderson, University of Cincinnati; Eunice Anderson, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; Alan R. Bailey, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.; Brenda M. Hunter, Atlanta, Ga.; Jonda C. McNair, Clemson University, Clemson, SC; Martha Ruff, Prince George’s County Public Library, Oxon Hill, Md.; and Robin L. Smith, Ensworth School, Nashville, Tenn.

Committee Chair Deborah Taylor appeared on the NBC “Today Show” recently. Visit http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/28873383#28873383 to see her appearance. Also, listen to an interview with Satia Orange, director, OLOS regarding the awards: http://www.pio.ala.org/visibility/?p=218

Submitted by Mark Gould, Director, Public Information Office

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