Coretta Scott King Book Award winners featured in library exhibit

As the American Library Association (ALA) announced 2019 winners of its Coretta Scott King Book Awards, Mickey Harvey, children’s librarian at the Stonecrest Library, noted that the awards program had reached its 50-year mark. “I decided we should take note that,” she said. Harvey created a library exhibit featuring books whose authors or illustrators are recipients of the award.

Established in 1969, Coretta Scott King Book Awards “are given annually 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. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood,” according to ALA.

Approximately 30 winners from the past 10 years are highlighted in the exhibit.

“I only highlighted books from the past 10 years of the awards program because space is limited,” Harvey explained, “but many books by award winners over the 50 years of its existence are available here at the Stonecrest Library.”

The approximately 30 featured winners are exhibited in panels along the library walls.
Among the 2019 winners are A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riots of 1919 by Claire Hartfield. The library describes the book as “a meticulously researched exposition of the socio-economic landscape and racial tension that led to the death of a Black teen who wanted to swim and the violent clash that resulted.”

Fiction winners include Monday’s Not Coming, a novel by Tiffany D. Jackson, which “examines friendship, child abuse and family relations,” according to the library. Another work of fiction, The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, is described as “a fast pace mystery.”

The library calls The Season of Styx Malone written and illustrated by Kekla Magoon “a kooky adventure tale about two small-town Indiana brothers, Caleb, 10, and Bobby Gene, 11, who come under the influence of a cool but shady 16-year-old neighbor with big secrets.” The book was honored for its artwork.

Authors and illustrated chosen for the award are creators of fiction, history books, poetry and other genres.

Illustrator Laura Freeman won for a visual representation of the true story of four Black women who helped NASA launch men into space in a children’s version of Hidden Figures.

“I think these illustrations are stunning,” Harvey said of Ekua Holmes’ artwork in The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer. Holmes used hand-marbled paper and collage to create what the library calls “a lush explosion of color that brings to life the formation of the universe while distinctly reflecting the essence of the African diaspora.”

Oge Mora is both the author and illustrator of Thank You, Omu, but was honored in the New Talent Illustrator category for a book the library calls a “collage work…skillfully pieced together with acrylic, marker, pastels, patterned paper, and old book clippings, creating a visual smorgasbord.”

“These books are all so wonderful. I would love to see the library filled with young people every day enjoying these powerful books,” Harvey said.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award was created by Mabel McKissick and Glyndon Greer of the ALA, which in 1982 officially recognized the award. Presented in its inaugural year to Lillie Patterson for her biography Martin Luther King Jr.: Man of Peace, the award has been expanded to a program that includes several categories with recipients honored at a breakfast at the ALA’s annual conference. The program now includes two special awards: The John Steptoe New Talent Award and the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Books awarded in the program are marked with a seal designed in 1974 by artist Lev Mills.



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