Coretta Scott King Award Books

Using award winners to inspire reading

An award for 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.

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Coretta Scott King Award History

Visit the official award page on the American Library Association website

Other Awards for Multicultural Children's Books

Links to outstanding books that include all

The Coretta Scott King Awards include books for children from preschool to 8th grade, and with a wide range of subjects, including biography, history, science, music, sports, poetry, and general fiction. Kids can find something to interest even the most reluctant reader.

Picture Books for Students PreK - 5th Grade

Sulwe

by Nupita Nyong'o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Simon & Schuster, 2019

Fiction/Self-Esteem - Grades PreK - 3, Ages 4 - 8

Sulwe doesn't like that her skin is darker than anyone in her family or at school, and just wants to be lighter. But a magical night-time journey, and her mother's love, convinces her that beauty is found everywhere and in everyone.

Resources:

Lesson Plan for Common Core - from Simon & Schuster

Interview with Lupita Nyong'o - from NPR, on writing the story

Read -Aloud with Lupita Nyong'o - from Netflix Jr

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

by Margot Lee Shetterly, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

Harper Collins, 2018

Biography/STEM - Grades 1-4, Ages 6-9

Before the PC or Apple, people were computers, and these women were some of the best. The story of four women who helped airplanes fly and astronauts go to the moon, through math, engineering, and strength of purpose.

Resources:

Young Readers Edition - the same book written for grades 5-8

Modern Figures Toolkit for Classes - from NASA for grades 1-4, 5-8, & 9-12

Interview with the Author - from Harper Academic Calling

The True Story - from Smithsonian Magazine

In the Time of the Drums

by Kim L. Siegelson, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Lee & Low Books, 1999

History/Folklore - Grades 1-5, Ages 6-11

A story about the importance of family, music, and holding on to a people's history. This story comes from the oral history of the Gullah people of South Carolina, told through young Mentu and his grandmother Twi. It is a personal story of the struggle to hold on to tradition during enslavement.

Resources:

Hear African drum music - from the Smithsonian and Allmusic

Folkways Lesson Plans - from the Smithsonian

Learn about the Ibo people - from the Ibo community in Los Angeles

Interview with Brian Pinkney - from Kojo with Kids, NPR

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

by Katheryn Russel Brown, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Lee & Low Books, 2014

Biography/Music - Grades 1-5, Ages 6-11

When she started playing the trombone at 7, Melba had to lean her head to the side to make her arm long enough to move the slide. That didn't stop her from becoming one of the best jazz musicians of the 20th century. The illustrations of Melba becoming a leading musician will make anyone want to know her.

Resources:

Creating the Illustrations - from Lee & Low Books, with Frank Morrison

Little Melba's Playlist - Frank Morrison's jazz playlist

A Teacher's Guide - from Lee & Low Books

All About Jazz - from Jazz In America, including lesson plans and resources

Wehn the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop

by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor, III

Roaring Book Press, 2013

Biography/Music - Grades 1-5, Ages 6-11

The amazing story of the man who inspired hip hop because he loved music, movement, and parties. This book tells the story of how Clive Campbell became DJ Kool Herc, from his beginnings in Jamaica to his start in New York City. Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who dreams of being a music superstar.

Resources:

Book Trailer - from Texas Bluebonnet Award

Write Your Own Rhymes - use Flocabulary beats to create rhymes

Interview with DJ Kool Herc - from NPR and Fresh Air

The Invention of Hip Hop - from the Lemelson Center

Chapter Books for Students 4th - 8th Grade

The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander

HMH Books, 2014

Sports/Poetry - Grades 4-8, Ages 9-14

Josh and Jordan Bell are twins who have spent their childhood doing everything together - classes, chores, and learning basketball from their father, former professional player Chuck 'Da' Man' Bell. This book begins their journey into being adults, both moving apart because of a new girlfriend, and because of family tragedy, all through a story told in verse.

Resources:

The Graphic Novel Edition - same book in graphic novel form

Word Building and Vocabulary - from Reading is Fundamental

Poetry for Children - guide to creating poetry using The Crossover

Teaching Guide - from Reading with Relevance, includes 9 lesson plans

One Crazy Summer

by Rita William-Garcia

Harper Collins, 2010

Historical Fiction - Grades 4-8, Ages 9-14

It's a good thing 11 year old Delphine had low expectations about visiting her estranged mother all the way across the country. With her sisters Vonetta and Fern, Delphine spends the month getting most of the sisters' meals, spending the day at the Black Panthers' community center attending the kids' program, and experiencing the summer of 1968 in Oakland, CA. And in the end, beginning the journey to understanding the cost of hard choices.

Resources:

Activity Suggestions - from Denver Public Library

A Discussion Guide - from Be a Learning Hero

What We Don't Learn About the Black Panthers - But Should - from Zinn Education Project

All Power to the People - from the Smithsonian

Other Awards

Both The Crossover and One Crazy Summer have something else in common - they also earned a Newbery Award.

By Joanna Roberts

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