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Reviews of the 2020 CSK Illustrator Award winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem...

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Author Award winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Lift Every Voice: Side B

When I was eight years old — you might say octave age — in 1971, I was a DJ playing a record, a single 45, in my bedroom. The song on vinyl I would play was side B of Michael Jackson’s “Got to Be There” — “Maria (You Were the...

Lift Every Voice: Thank You, Gusty

Funny thing is, I have never before shared this experience with anyone. It is most likely the event that had the most impact on the direction of my life. When I was young, my imagination was voracious. In the corner of one of the three rooms of our house (the...

What the CSK Means to Me

I’m not a children’s librarian. I don’t even work in the children’s book field. But as an African American, an academic librarian, and a library and information science (LIS) administrator/educator, I have always known the importance of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. I began my professional career just about...

Lift Every Voice: My Grandparents' House

As a child, I loved to visit my grandparents. Their home was very different from ours. My grandmother had purchased it late in life with her own money, she would proudly say. In the house were cherry-wood end tables with scalloped edges and leather insets, beautiful ornate ceramic peacocks that...

Lift Every Voice: History and Stories

In addition to this year being the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, it is also fifty years since I graduated from high school. My foundational education provided very few opportunities to read books by African American writers, either for school or pleasure. Interestingly,...

Lift Every Voice: In the Presence of Royalty

My heart was racing like Secretariat, even though I had practiced my acceptance speech, as I nervously approached the podium. They had called my name to receive the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for my work on The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth. The CSK Breakfast...

Lift Every Voice: History Comes Alive

It was an adult book — The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley — that inspired me to try my hand at writing historical fiction for children. I’ll never forget the author’s harrowing description of one of the characters fleeing a pack of slave hunters. I have always been a history...
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