Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Celebrating diversity: 2013 Coretta Scott King Awards

Each year, I especially look forward to the announcements of the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpre Award and many others that celebrate the diversity of readers in our libraries. At my school library in Berkeley, we share books that reflect many different perspectives. These awards help us to find the best books from authors of color to share with our students. Here this year's Coretta Scott King Award winners. I will continue posting other award roundups in the next few days.

The Coretta Scott King Awards
These awards are given each year "to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values." Separate awards are given for authors and illustrators. Read the press release for the Coretta Scott King Awards to learn more about each book. Here are the award-winning books:

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, 2012
2013 CSK Author Award
my review here
available at your local library and on Amazon
This collection of biographies is stunningly written. Andrea Davis Pinkney writes with conviction and song in her voice, as she sure-fastedly shows readers many reasons why we admire these black men. I am reading the biography of Benjamin Banneker aloud to my class right now, and they are mesmerized - so impressed by Banneker's accomplishments, but also soaking in Pinkney's language.

I, Too, Am America
illustrated by Bryan Collier
by Langston Hughes
Simon & Schuster, 2012
2013 CSK Illustrator Award
available at your local library and on Amazon
Collier's stirring illustrations blend watercolors with collage, to create a picture book layered with symbolism that blends the historical with the modern. Collier uses Hughes' poem to honor the Pullman porters. I was particularly struck by how Collier layers symbolism throughout the illustrations, explaining this in his note at the end.

Each Kindness
by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin, 2012
2013 CSK Author honor award
my review here
available at your local library and on Amazon

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Micheaux, Harlem Bookseller
by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Carolrhoda / Lerner, 2012
2013 CSK Author honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

Ellen’s Broom
illustrated by Daniel Minter
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
G. P. Putnam’s Sons/ Penguin, 2012
2013 CSK Illustrator honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

H. O. R. S. E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination
illustrated and written by Christopher Myers
Egmont USA, 2012
2013 CSK Illustrator honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr.
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
written by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Schwartz & Wade/ Random House, 2012
2013 CSK Illustrator honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

Each one of these books is so very special. Spend the time to seek them out and share them with the children in your life.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Vaunda Nelson is a lovely, warm, incredible talent. I am so thrilled for her!

  2. I was so thrilled with this list. I was lucky enough to hear both Andrea Pinkney and Jacqueline Woodson speak this fall and they both incredible- I am so happy for them both!

  3. Thanks Mary Ann!

    You might be interested in the site better world books--they seem to have a book selection equal or sometimes better than amazon with comparable prices, but they donate books and money to literacy projects with every purchase. I wonder if they could work with your site, too.

    Also, I wonder if you could direct me to some literature selections, chapter books and picture book read alouds for 2nd grade, that are connected to these essential questions from a FOSS-anchored bilingual content area literacy unit:

    What is a life cycle?
    During the life cycle of an organism, what changes, and what stays the same?
    What do organisms need to survive?
    How do environments support an organisms life cycle?

    A couple ideas I've had so far are Charlotte's Web, but I am afraid it will be a little overwhelming for the students, especially since the classes are heavy with ELs. I also thought of Uncle Jed's barbershop. I think the questions from science relate nicely to the human issues of growth and change, and support work with character development.

    FYI, I work in Oakland Unified, and my son attends kindergarten at Emerson, where he loves your library. In fact, right now he is downstairs creating his own library, with all the books laid out on couches and chairs, and I was able to put a book "on hold!" Thanks for your great work.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! Yes, I do order a lot from Better World Books. In terms of your FOSS unit, one book that I really enjoyed was Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus:

      I also really like Scholastic's new series "Discover More". They have a book called Baby Animals that covers this material. Finally, do you know the series Read and Find Out Science? Excellent series for reading aloud. Where do chicks come from? might be helpful:

      Best of luck,

      Mary Ann

  4. I work at an elementary school and I am preparing to do our annual black history month bullitin - I post on tv several books, people of interest and I run it thru our school system for all to see. I would like to use some of your suggestions and would be glad ( if allowed) to post the name of your website as my source. Great post by the way.

  5. Thanks so much. Yes, you're welcome to use my suggestions if you credit me and provide a link to my site (perhaps in a newsletter to parents?). Thanks for sharing great books with your students and families.