Designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.
Further, the Award encourages the artistic expression of the black experience via literature and the graphic arts in biographical, social, and historical treatments by African American authors and illustrators.
Coretta Scott King Author Award
Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi
Warrior Princess. That’s what Nigeria Jones’s father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch of their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want.
Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe.
As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
An American Story by Dare Coulter
From the fireside tales in an African village, through the unspeakable passage across the Atlantic, to the backbreaking work in the fields of the South, this is a story of a people’s struggle and strength, horror and hope. This is the story of American slavery, a story that needs to be told and understood by all of us. A testament to the resilience of the African American community, this book honors what has been and envisions what is to be.
With stunning mixed-media illustrations by Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winning artist Dare Coulter, this is a potent book for those who want to speak the truth. Perfect for family sharing, the classroom, and homeschooling.
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award
There Goes the Neighborhood by Jade Adia
Rhea’s neighborhood is fading away—the mom-and-pop shops of her childhood forced out to make space for an artisanal kombucha brewery here, a hot yoga studio there. And everywhere, the feeling that this place is no longer meant for her. Because while their little corner of South L.A. isn’t perfect, to Rhea and her two best friends, it’s something even more important—it’s home. And it’s worth protecting.
But as more white people flock to their latest edgy, urban paradise for its cheap rent and sparkling new Whole Foods, more of Rhea’s friends and family are pushed out. Until Rhea decides it’s time to push back. Armed with their cellphones and a bag of firecrackers, the friends manipulate social media to create the illusion of gang violence in their neighborhood. All Rhea wanted to do was protect her community. Her friends. Herself. No one was supposed to get hurt. No one was supposed to die.
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award
We Could Fly by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu
At a sparrow’s urging, a young girl feels a mysterious trembling in her arms, a lightness in her feet, a longing to be free. Her mother tells her that her Granny Liza experienced the same, as did many of their people before her. Perhaps it’s time, Mama says, to slip the bonds of earth and join the journey started long ago. To hold each other tight and rise. Drawing on lyrics from the song “We Could Fly” by Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell, which in turn draw on a heritage of African folklore, this incantatory dialogue between a mother and daughter paired with startlingly beautiful illustrations celebrates love, resilience, and the spiritual power of the“old-time ways”—tradition and shared cultural memory—to sustain and uplift.