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CSK Through the Decades: The 1980s

In the 1980s, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards became an official ALA award as African American literature evolved and transformed the landscape of children’s literature.  The work of authors, Walter Dean Myers and Virginia Hamilton, as well as that of illustrators, Jerry Pinkney, John Steptoe and Ashley Bryan, forever changed the face of children’s literature. These literary giants claimed their rightful place by producing some of the best in children’s literature.  All have received multiple CSK Book Awards during this period that played a significant role in propelling their careers.

Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers, a pioneer of young adult fiction, won his first CSK Book Award for the groundbreaking Young Landlords in 1980.  Myers captured two more CSK Author Award wins in 1985 for Motown and Didi: A Love Story and in 1989 for Fallen Angels, a Vietnam conflict saga.  Some 80-plus titles later, Myers’ books have stood the test of time as moving, tough stories for and about black male teens.  Myers has won more CSK Book Awards than any other author, garnering five wins and six honors.  He is the recipient of the numerous other book awards. He also served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a post appointed by the Library of Congress.  Mostly recently, he posthumously became the winner of ALSC’s Children Literature Legacy Award.   

    

Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton had already ignited the children’s book world by becoming the first African American author to win a Newbery Medal in 1975 for M. C. Higgins, the Great, for which she also won the National Book Award. In the eighties, her talent continued to soar and she captured two CSK Book Awards, in 1983 for Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush and in 1986 for The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. The 1980s also brought Hamilton four CSK Honor book awards: The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl (1984), A Little Love (1985), Junius Over Far (1986), and Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave (1989)Hamilton was one of the most distinguished authors of twentieth century children’s literature.  She received nearly every award in the field during her 35-year career, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the MacArthur Fellowship, becoming the first author of books for youth to do so.  In 2010 the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award was named in her honor.

John Steptoe

John Steptoe was only 18-years-old when his first book, Stevie, received national attention in 1969. The eighties witnessed Steptoe winning two CSK Illustrator Awards: Mother Crocodile: An Amadou Tale from Sengal written by Rosa Guy in 1983, and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: an African Tale in 1988He also won a CSK Illustrator Honor award in 1983 for All the Colors of the Race.  Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters became his breakthrough book; the African tale is still widely used today, appearing on school reading lists and a favorite among storytellers.  In his 20-year career, Steptoe illustrated 16 picture books, 12 of which he also wrote. With the permission of his family, the John Steptoe New Talent Award was established by the CSK Book Awards committee to affirm new talent and to offer visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustration. The award has existed since 1995 but began bearing the Steptoe name in 1999.

Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney’s career as book illustrator was launched at a critical time in the evolution of African American children’s literature. When the Council on Interracial Books for Children (CIBC) was established, dedicated to integrating the content of children’s books and also securing more African American writers and illustrators to create these books, Pinkney was there as a greeting card designer and creator of the first black stamps. His initial work with CIBC included book cover art and illustrations in fiction titles. Pinkney reviewed his first CSK nod in 1981 with an Illustrator Honor for Count on Your Fingers African Style. That was followed by three CSK Book Awards wins: Mirandy and Brother Wind (1989), Half a Moon and One Whole Star (1987), and The Patchwork Quilt (1986)There is no doubt that the CSK Book Awards was instrumental in bringing visibility and recognition to his work. Pinkney’s career now spans some fifty-plus years and he has received numerous awards and honors.  In 2010, he captured the Caldecott Medal for his adaption of the classic tale The Lion and the Mouse.  He had previously won five Caldecott honors.   With more than a hundred books to his credit,   Pinkney has made an incredible contribution to the world of children’s books and has helped to advance multiculturalism and African American themes.

Ashley Bryan

Author and artist Ashley Bryan could be called the “grandfather’’ of African American children book illustrators because he has been the inspiration for so many up and coming illustrators.  It was in 1980s when Bryan met his stride, his talent was revealed, and the CSK Book Awards acknowledged and rewarded his work. He received four CSK Illustrator Honors during the 1980s: Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum (1981), I’m Going to Sing: Black American Spirituals (1983), Lion and the Ostrich Chicks and Other African Folk Tales (1987) and What a Morning! The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals (1988) .  Bryan’s remarkable career has spanned half a century and he has published over 50 titles.  Motivated by the black oral tradition, many of Bryan’s books were influenced by African American spirituals and African folktales.  He has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder/Legacy Award; he has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions.   It is gratifying to know that Bryan’s legacy and his lifelong collection of letters, books and artwork will be preserved for generations to come at the University of Pennsylvania.

As you can see, this vanguard of black children’s book creators achieved literary success, bringing African American children’s literature to the forefront and providing much needed diversity to children’s literature.

Carolyn Garnes is Chair of the CSK Marketing Committee /past CSK Committee Chair 1990-1994 & CSK Book Awards Jury, 1987-1994.

CSK Awards – 50 Years Strong!

Photo credit: Pat Toney
Photo credit: Pat Toney

On Monday, January 28, Dr. Claudette McLinn, Chair, announced the 2019 Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Award winners and Honor books, the 2019 John Steptoe winning titles for author and illustrator, and the 2019 CSK-Virginia Hamilton Award winner. This is the 50th year of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, and the logo was prominently displayed on the screen at the ALA Youth Media Award annoucement ceremony.

First announced was the 2019 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Acheivement (Practioner), Dr. Pauletta Bracy.

Photo credit: Pat Toney

Next up was the John Steptoe Award for New Talent. The 2019 Steptoe Award for New Talent (Illustrator) was awarded to Oge Mora, author and illustrator of Thank You, Omu! The 2019 John Steptoe Award for New Talent (Author) was awarded to Tiffany D. Jackson for Monday’s Not Coming (HarperCollins)

2019 Coretta Scott King Book Award Honors for Illustration were awarded to Laura Freedman for Hidden Figures (written by Margot Lee Sherrerly, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books); Frank Morrison for Let the Children March (written by Moncia Clark-Robison, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); and R. Gregory Christie for Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop (written by Alice Faye Duncan, published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights).

The 2019 Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustration was awarded to Ekua Holmes, illustrator of The Stuff of Stars (written by Marion Dane Bauer and published by Candlewick Press).

2019 Coretta Scott King Book Award Author Honors  were awarded to Lesa Cline-Ransome for Finding Langston (Holiday House); Varian Johnson for The Parker Inheritance ( Arthur A. Levine Books, a division of Scholastic); and Kekla Magoon for The Season of Styx Malone (Wendy Lamb Books, a divison of Penguin Random House LLC ).

The 2019 Coretta Scott King Book Author Award winner is Claire Hartfield for A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Photo credit: Pat Toney

Many thanks to the members of the 2019 Coretta Scott Book Awards Jury and to the 2019 CSK-Virginia Hamilton Award Jury.

Don’t forget to purchase your ticket to the CSK Breakfast to be held in June during ALA Annual when we will celebrate all these awards!

Susan Polos works as a school librarian at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, NY.  She is chair of the CSK Book Awards Technology Committee.

CSK Legends: Eloise Greenfield

 

Children need to know, and to see in books, the truth — the beauty, intelligence, courage, and ingenuity of African and African American people.  Eloise Greenfield, CSK Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech


CSK Legends
is a series of interviews saluting early recipients of the Coretta Scott King Book Award.  For our first post in this series we raise the spotlight on Eloise Greenfield.

With a career spanning over fifty years and nearly as many books to her credit, Eloise Greenfield is one of the most beloved authors of children’s literature.  

With work that spans a range of genres, including poetry and informative prose, Greenfield won her first Coretta Scott King Honor for her biography Paul Robeson in 1976. In 1978 she received the CSK Author Award for Africa Dream and a CSK Author Honor for her biography of Mary McLeod Bethune. She subsequently won CSK Author Honors for Childtimes: A Three Generation Memoir (1980), Nathaniel Talking (1990),  Night on Neighborhood Street (1992) and The Great Migration: Journey to the North (2012).

The following interview took place over several email exchanges and has been edited for clarity. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jené Watson: What an honor to interview you! Congratulations on being the 2018 recipient of Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Eloise Greenfield: It is my honor to have received such a special award.

JW: You originally planned to be a teacher, then worked in civil service for a while before (or at the same time that) you began writing in earnest. What made you decide to focus your attention on writing exclusively for children?

EG:  My shyness interfered with my plan to become a teacher, and after I had worked for a while in the 1950s as a civil service clerk-typist, I became bored.  I had always loved books and words, and I felt that I could become a writer, one who was reclusive, as some writers are.

Throughout the 1950s, I studied books on the craft of writing and submitted my poems, stories and articles to publishers. After many rejections, I finally had a poem published in 1962, and throughout the sixties my poems and short stories for children and adults were published in Scholastic Scope and in Negro Digest.

Courtesy of Eloise Greenfield

In 1971, I headed the adult fiction division of the D.C. Black Writers’ Workshop, founded and directed by Annie Crittenden. I had written Bubbles, which later became my first children’s book, and  Sharon Bell Mathis, who headed the children’s literature division, suggested that I write a picture book biography for the Crowell Publishers series, now a part of HarperCollins. Subsequently, I continued to write for children.

JW: Songs are the stories that children are first introduced to, and in some cases songs and poetry are one and the same. Two of my favorite things about your work are its everyday poetic language and your commitment to offering more rounded views of black children, families and communities. Please talk about why this is so important.

EG: I feel that poetic language is not restricted to formal speech. We can hear in all kinds of language the in-depth meanings and the musicality that make it poetic. I want children to know this, to hear the power of language and also to know how beautiful and intelligent African and African American people are.

On the other hand, writing is never fun for me. It’s work, because I have to concentrate on the craft I have studied and keep revising until all aspects —  the meanings and the musicality of language — are exactly what I want them to be. No, writing is not fun, but it’s satisfying work, and I love every minute of it!

JW: You won your first CSK Honor in 1976 for your biography Paul Robeson.  A little before that, in 1973, you wrote a similar biography on Rosa Parks and in 1977 you devoted one to the life of educator Mary McLeod Bethune. How did you select the subjects for your biographies? Did you choose the subjects to write about or did a publisher suggest them to you?

EG:  These biographies are all a part of the Crowell Biography Series. I chose them because I didn’t feel that enough had been said about them and the importance of their work.  

JW: What effect did winning your first CSK have on how you thought about your writing?  What kinds of shifts did you notice in your career after winning it?

EG:  Awards have not changed the way I feel about my writing. I feel that it’s important that writers take seriously their efforts and the effect they have on the public and always to do their best work. Awards bring attention to an author’s work and often an increase in sales, and are wonderful pats on the back to let us know that our work is appreciated.

JW: Some critics insist that the world has moved beyond the need for ethnically-based awards and that awards like the CSK are not as relevant or necessary as they once were.  As an elder who’s witnessed trends and cycles, can you speak to this? And how would you compare the present terrain of publishing for children of color to that of past decades?

EG: Although there have been improvements in the number and quality of good books about African and African American people, these awards are as important as they ever were.  Racism still exists in life and in literature, and even if racial discrimination were to end, the awards would take their place among all the other awards that exist in literature and in so many other fields.

JW: You’re keeping busy with fun projects where you’re collaborating with younger artists.  One of them is a lively Youtube video of you doing “Nathaniel’s Rap,” filmed and produced by your grandson, Terique Greenfield.  The other is a gorgeous picture book about a boy and his dog titled Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me illustrated by Iranian artist, Ehsan Abdollahi.  How did these projects come about?

EG: The “Nathaniel’s Rap” video was produced several years ago. [It’s a] poem from my book Nathaniel Talking. My grandson, Terique Greenfield, who is a composer and also has sometimes directed videos, wrote the music and directed the video for me. It turned out very well, and it was fun, because I had no creative responsibility. I just had to follow Terique’s directions.

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me cover courtesy of Ehsan Abdollahi and Tiny Owl Publishing

About two years ago, I was followed on Twitter by Tiny Owl Publishing, a company in Britain. I followed them back.  I then sent the manuscript for Thinker. They loved it and engaged Ehsan Abdollahi, a highly regarded artist, to illustrate it. The book was published in April 2018, and has received many favorable reviews. The British edition of Thinker contains a few British spellings, and I am happy that an edition with U.S. spellings will be published in the U.S., in April 2019, by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Two other acclaimed artists have recently illustrated my books:  Don Tate, PAR-TAY!: Dance of the Veggies and Their Friends (2018) and Daniel Minter, The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives (2019), both by Alazar Press.

JW: Many of your earlier books are still in print after more than 40 years. To what to you credit your literary longevity?

EG:  I credit the longevity of some books to many factors. In addition to the quality of the text and illustrations, there is the subject matter and the tastes of the reading public, the work of the agents and publicists, marketing by the publisher and booksellers, as well as the awards and favorable reviews that bring attention to the work.

 

The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives and Par-Tay: Dance of the Veggies and their Friends courtesy of Alazar Press

 

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Follow Eloise Greenfield on Twitter @ELGreenfield

Jené Watson is a writer, mother and public librarian who lives in suburban Atlanta.  She loves arts and history and is the author of The Spirit That Dreams: Conversations with Women Artists of Color (indigopen.com).

The Man Behind the Coretta Scott King Award Seal: Lev T. Mills

Have you ever wondered about the CSK seal? Who designed it and what do all those symbols mean? For an insight into the seal’s design and the artistic journey of Lev Mills, visit the 50th anniversary website.  You can hear from Lev Mills, and it will be an inspiring educational experience.

 

Carolyn Garnes is CSK Marketing chair and past CSK Task Force chair, 1993-1997.

CSK Through the Decades: The 1970s

The 1970s were the formative years for the Coretta Scott King Award as new African American writers emerged.  One of those talents was Mildred DeLois Taylor.   Taylor’s relationship with the Coretta Scott King Award is a long and illustrious one, spanning more than three decades and resulting in four CSK wins  – Let the Circle Be Unbroken (1982), The Friendship (1988), The Road to Memphis (1991), The Land (2002) – and two honors, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (1977) and Song of the Trees (1976). Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1943, Taylor tells her own family’s story, like that of the Logan family whom she brings to life in her novels, one of pride, struggle, and endurance in the face of oppression. Wishing to raise their daughters in an area offering more economic opportunity and less racial strife, Taylor’s parents relocated the family to Toledo, Ohio when she was three months old. Once a year, however, Taylor returned south to visit her relatives, where she was consistently regaled with tales of their family’s history.

Taylor recalls her father’s knack for storytelling with great pride, noting that “These stories of family history were handed down from generation to generation, and as a child I was inspired to pass these stories on.” Putting those narratives down on paper was more than a way to make a living, it was a calling that paid homage to her ancestors even as it introduced generations of children to a proud black family whose love and solidarity sustained them through the harshest of times. Taylor’s desire to write was strengthened by her childhood experiences as one of the only black students in her classes. She was also horrified by the way that history textbooks downgraded the accomplishments of and injustices suffered by blacks, telling a history of her people that was unrecognizable from the narratives of fortitude and perseverance her own father recounted. Taylor graduated from high school in 1961 and enrolled at the University of Toledo where she majored in English and minored in history. A frustrated first attempt at publishing a novel (Dark People, Dark World) did not deter her, and after earning her Masters in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Taylor moved to Los Angeles in 1971 and worked as a proofreader and editor.

Her big break came in 1973, when a friend told her about a writing contest being sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. The story she submitted was based on her father’s life, but at the last minute she decided to rewrite it from a girl’s perspective. That tale – which won Taylor the contest and established her career as a children’s author – became Song of the Trees, the first installment chronicling the life of the Logan family. Set during the Great Depression in Jim Crow-era Mississippi, the Logans own four hundred acres of land, which insulates them from some of the horrors visited upon their black peers who are forced to sharecrop on white plantations. What makes the Logans unique is not simply their land, which is a source of sustenance and pride, but the strength and dignity with which Taylor imbues each character. Taylor admits in her Penguin profile that she “wanted to show a different kind of black world from the one so often seen. I wanted to show a family united in love and self-respect, and parents, strong and sensitive.” In the sequel to Song, the Newbery Award-winning and CSK Honor Roll of Thunder, Taylor gave readers a family anchored by three generations of strong black women, most notably Cassie, the nine-year-old protagonist and granddaughter of Paul and Caroline, who purchase the land upon which the family lives.

Rodney Marcel Fierce is a Humanities Teacher at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California and is finishing his dissertation for his English doctoral program at The University of Southern Mississippi. He is a member of the CSK Marketing Committee.

Announcing a New CSK Blog Series: CSK-Winning Books Through the Decades, Observations and Reflections

In celebration of fifty years, the CSK Marketing Committee will present a special series of blog posts entitled “CSK Winning Books through the Decades: Observations and Reflections.” Each CSK Marketing Committee member will reveal his or her unique prospective on a specific decade.  The 1970s were the formative years for the award as new African American writers emerged.  In the 1980s, the CSK Book Awards became an official ALA award as African American literature evolved and transformed the landscape of children’s literature.  The 1990s revealed  that the very existence of the Award provided opportunities to be published and recognized for African American authors and illustrators where none existed in the past. The 2000s saw the award raise the level of expectations for editors and creators of children’s literature, becoming a goal to aspire to for African American writers and illustrators.  Now, in the 2010s, the award has succeeded as one of ALA’s most prestigious honors.  Stay tuned to the CSK Blog for more illuminating facts about the CSK Book Awards through the decades!

Carolyn Garnes is the Chair of the CSK Marketing Committee.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards Donation Grant: Apply Today!

Photo credit: CCAC North Library

In 2019, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards will mark its 50th anniversary of celebrating “outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.”

Every year, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) of the American Library Association receives approximately 60-100 book titles for the Coretta Scott King Book Awards jury to review, including a full set of that year’s Coretta Scott King Award winning and honor book titles. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Donation Grant brings these books into the lives of children and their communities. When an organization is selected to receive the grant, it is sent the books that EMIERT collected; those books are used to support innovative projects that foster community connections and children’s access to quality materials and reading opportunities.

Any agency or institution serving children who make these materials available to children is encouraged to apply for the grant. Last year, grant recipients included Art Aids Art in Khayelitsha, South Africa, the Uni Project in New York, NY, and a collaboration between the Athens Housing Authority, the University of Georgia College of Education, and Parkview Community in Athens, GA. You can read more about how these organizations are using the books they received in 2018 here.

Applications for the 2019 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Donation Grant are now open and will be accepted until January 31, 2019. Applications are accepted from any location, but note that grant recipients must pay for shipping and handling charges. Click here to apply and learn more about the criteria, guidelines, and past winners.

Elisa Gall & Regina Carter are Chair and member of the CSK Book Awards Donation Grant Committee, respectively.

Help Us Celebrate CSK Award Winners!

Elementary students award Kwame Alexander their own medal for distinguished writing. Photo credit: Susan Polos

Call for Submissions for the CSK Blog

The CSK Technology Committee would like to hear from you. As we count down to our 50th anniversary celebration in Washington D.C., we would like to feature the many ways our community uses and engages with CSK award-winning books in their libraries. Our goal is to feature as many CSK Award-winning books on the blog from now until our big celebration.

Are you a school librarian who uses CSK winning titles in innovative lessons? Are you a public librarian using CSK winning titles for programs or storytimes? Do you have a connection to, a cool story about, or a unique artifact of, a CSK award winner? Whether you would like to write your submission or be interviewed about your work by a member of the technology committee, please contact us at csktechcommittee@gmail.com today! Be sure to include the CSK award-winner that will be highlighted in the post. Additionally, if you have ideas on how we can feature older award-winnrs, we would love to hear about that, too.

 

Maegen Rose works as a middle school librarian at Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY. She is a member of the CSK Book Award Technology Committee.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards to Mark 50 years of Honoring the Best in Children and Youth Literature Celebrating the Black experience

It’s a celebration! The entire year of 2019 marks the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards. What a milestone! The CSK Book Awards have enlarged the prominence of literature for children and youth about the Black experience and heightened the work of our author and illustrator winners and honorees. Your support has been unwavering, and you have empowered the CSK Book Awards to endure for 50 years.

We are excited to announce the CSK Books Awards: 50 Years Strong Anniversary website. Please visit often. You will find updates and announcements from the planning team. Feel free to access the Fact Sheet, Press Release template, Public Service Announcement (PSA) template, and Talking Points to use for your CSK 50 programs and presentations. If you will be presenting a CSK 50 program, let us know via email at diversity@ala.org.

The CSK Book Awards: 50 Years Strong Anniversary website can be accessed in two ways: 1) Visit our CSK Book Awards Home page, http://www.ala.org/CSK, and click on the blue link 50th anniversary -or- 2) Visit directly at http://www.ala.org/rt/emiert/cskbookawards/csk50.

Using the hashtag, #CSK50 on social media, share with us your favorite moments from past Coretta Scott King Book Awards breakfasts, Coretta Scott King Book Award titles that you and your library cherish, or what this award means to you as a library worker, educator, student, reader, or writer. Plan on attending ALA Annual 2019 in Washington, D.C., to celebrate with us in person!

We will have a Commemorative CSK 50th Anniversary T-Shirt on sale at the ALA store. The Commemorative CSK 50th Anniversary Lapel Pin (item #5302-1911) is presently on sale at the ALA store. The sixth edition of the CSK Book Awards publication will also be available at the ALA store soon. Purchase these beautiful keepsake items for you, colleagues, family, and friends. The ALA store website is https://www.alastore.ala.org/.

Let’s celebrate CSK 50 Years Strong!

Cheers,

Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, Chair

Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee

 

 

Dr. Claudette McLinn is Chair of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee. She is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature.

Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards Opens at the Eric Carle Museum

 

Our Voice Exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.   Photo credit: Dr. McLinn

Saturday, October 20, 2018, was the special opening reception of Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. This traveling art exhibition was assembled through the collaboration of the American Library Association and the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). This exhibition features 100 works of art from 38 CSK winner and honor illustrators and remain on view through January 27, 2019. Our Voice is the largest and most comprehensive presentation of CSK illustrator winners and honors ever assembled since the illustrator award was established in 1974.

From left to right, Ellen Keiter, Reynolds Ruffin, Ekua Holmes, Gordon C. James, Jerry Pinkney, and George C. Ford.   Photo credit: Dr. McLinn

Several of the CSK illustrator winner and honor award recipients were present at the opening reception. The illustrators include George C. Ford, the first recipient and winner of the CSK Illustrator Award in 1974; Reynolds Ruffin, 1997 honor awardee; JoeSam, 1988 honor awardee; Charles R. Smith, Jr., 2010 award winner; Gordon C. James, 2018 honor awardee; and Ekua Holmes, 2018 award winner. A special one-hour program in the auditorium featured Ekua Holmes and Gordon C. James in conversation with Jerry Pinkney.

Ekua Holmes and Gordon C. James, in conversation with Jerry Pinkney.   Photo credit: Dr. McLinn

This exhibition was curated by Ellen Keiter, chief curator at The Eric Carle Museum and her super creative staff. iPad stations were provided where visitors had the opportunity to listen to audio clips of many of the artists speaking about their work in their own voice. In addition, small cards with quotations by Coretta Scott King were provided free for guests to take home.

This is a remarkable exhibition. If you are in the greater Boston area, please visit and make the trip with family or colleagues.

Dr. Claudette McLinn is Chair of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee. She is the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature.