coretta scott king book awards

Renée Watson’s young adult novel Piecing Me Together tells the story of Jade, a Portland, Ore., high school student with “coal skin and hula-hoop hips.” Jade has won a scholarship to St. Francis, a private school that’s mostly white. She makes friends and does well, but she also feels the school sees her as some kind of project –  and she doesn’t like it. 

Piecing Me Together recently received the Coretta Scott King Award from the American Library Association, and it’s also a John Newbery Medal honor book. 

Watson tells NPR, “I hope that my books provide space for young people to explore, and say, ‘Yeah, I feel seen.’ “

Check out Watson’s conversation with NPR here. 

SO PROUD, the remix. All of our incredible award winners and their books! 

COVER REVEAL OF MILDRED D. TAYLOR’S ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY (CELEBRATES 40th ANNIVERSARY IN 2016)

ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY was first published in January 1976, and was followed by eight additional novels to form the Logan family saga. These titles – Let the Circle be Unbroken, The Road to Memphis, Mississippi Bridge, Song of the Trees, The Friendship, The Land, The Well, The Gold Cadillac. The hardcover anniversary rejacketed edition will publish January 5, 2016 with the complete backlist to follow in paperback in April. The final book in the Logan family saga will be released by Viking in 2017.

Ms. Taylor says, “ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY was created from a story my father and my uncle told me while we sat at the dining room table. From the time I was a child, I heard family stories and family history. I have woven all those stories and all that history into ten books, including the book I am now writing, LOGAN, the concluding book of the Logan family saga. I consider my books a legacy to my family, and I believe all those who shared the stories and who lived the history would be as proud as I of the 40th anniversary of ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY, a book begun with a story told around the dining room table.”

“I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to create new covers for this powerful series by Mildred Taylor,” says Kadir Nelson. “The ROLL OF THUNDER series resonates so deeply with me and I’m very proud to help introduce this saga to a new generation of readers.”

Mildred D. Taylor is the author of nine books including The Road to Memphis, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Land, The Well and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Her books have won numerous awards, among them a Newbery Medal and Germany’s Buxtehude Bulle Award (both for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), four Coretta Scott King Awards, and a Boston Globe—Horn Book Award. Her book The Land was awarded the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN Award for Children’s Literature. In 2003, Ms. Taylor was named the First Laureate of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. In 2004, Mississippi celebrated a Mildred D. Taylor Day, and Mildred Taylor returned to her roots to address several hundred school children and adults at The University of Mississippi.

Mildred Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Toledo, she served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years and then spent the next year traveling throughout the United States, working and recruiting for the Peace Corps. At the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism, she helped created a Black Studies program and taught in the program for two years. Ms. Taylor has worked as a proofreader-editor and as program coordinator for an international house and a community free school. She now devotes her time to her family, writing, and what she terms “the family ranch” in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Kadir Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor Award recipient. He has received an NAACP Image Award, a CASEY Award, the 2009 and 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. Among Mr. Nelson’s other awards are gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The New Yorker. He lives in Los Angeles.

We are delighted to host the #CoverReveal for Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Journey of Little Charlie.

Here’s a summary from the publisher:

Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis brings his trademark humor and heart to the story of a boy struggling to do right in the face of history’s cruelest evils.

Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, Cap’n Buck, says Charlie’s dad owed him a lot of money. Fearing for his life, Charlie strikes a deal to repay his father’s debt by accompanying Cap’n Buck to Detroit in pursuit of some folks who have stolen from him. It’s not too bad of a bargain for Charlie … until he comes face-to-face with the fugitives and discovers that they escaped slavery years ago and have been living free. Torn between his guilty conscience and his survival instinct, Charlie needs to figure out his next move—and soon. It’s only a matter of time before Cap’n Buck catches on …

From the author:

Dear Reader,

As I began writing The Journey of Little Charlie, I thought I’d be telling the story of a young man of African descent as he was captured in Canada by an American slave catcher, but the story had other ideas. It was waylaid by Little Charlie Bobo, the son of a white sharecropper from South Carolina, who finds himself accompanying that same slave catcher north, in pursuit of “stolen property” that he soon discovers are other human beings. The US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required African Americans, even those living in “free” states, to provide documentation, upon request, demonstrating that they were not escaped slaves. One of the many consequences of this law was a migration of both free people of African origin and those escaping slavery beyond the US border, into Canada, where they received protection under Canadian law, and were welcomed with open arms in communities such as Buxton, Ontario.

As I listen to the radio and read the news today, I hear echoes of those events 167 years ago, stories full of fear-fueled dramatic escapes with swaddled babies and crying children and ice-covered fields – stories of people seeking freedom. As an avid student of history, I believe this is the most important thing writers can do: In addition to entertaining our readers, we can also point out that those who don’t remember the past, or choose to ignore it, are condemned to live it again and again.

About the author:

Christopher Paul Curtis was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, and won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award for his second book, Bud, Not Buddy. Mr. Curtis is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, as well as Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission, and the Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton.

Since we’re right in the thick of the film award season, we wanted to to roll out the red carpet and call out some of our favorite reads that have taken home their own (figurative) trophies!

Want even more? See the WHOLE list of our award-winners here!

1. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The story of Cassie’s transformative year at the height of the Great Depression won the Newbery Medal in 1976, and we’re celebrating its anniversary with the 40-year Anniversary Special Edition! 

2. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson 

The heart-tugging relationship between twins Noah and Jude won so many hearts that it received the 2015 Printz Award!

3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

As you can see from the cover bling, Jacqueline Woodson’s telling of her childhood in verse is truly beloved: it won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and was a Newbery Honor book.

4. Popular by Maya Van Wagenen

What happens when a teen girl follows a popularity guide from the 1950′s? She creates a heartwarming, eye-opening account of her journey. And she wins the YALSA Best Nonfiction For Young Adults award.

5. Looking for Alaska by John Green

John Green’s debut novel about Miles Halter’s whirlwind relationship with Alaska Young won the 2006 Printz Award.

6. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The winner of the 1976 Newbery Medal follows sixteen heirs who received a challenge to figure out the secret of self-made millionaire Sam Westing.

7. Postcards from No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers

17-year-old Jacob’s journey to Amsterdam to find his grandfather’s grave won the 2003 Printz Award.

8. Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars

Everything changes for Sara the summer her little brother Charlie disappears and she sets off to find him in this winner of the 1971 Newbery Medal.