Nation’s Libraries Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards in 2019

Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Libraries, schools and civic organizations across the country and world will host a variety of celebrations to observe the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Given annually since 1969, the awards commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honor his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. The awards are sponsored by ALA Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) and supported by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS).

Award founders Glyndon Flynt Greer, a school librarian in Englewood, New Jersey, Mabel McKissick, a school librarian in New London, Connecticut, and John Carroll, a book publisher envisioned an award that would recognize the talents of outstanding African-American authors and encourage them to continue writing books for children and young adults.

Winners are selected by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury and announced annually to a waiting national audience at the ALA Youth Media Awards, held on the Monday of the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits.

The awards serve as a guide for parents, librarians and caregivers, for the most outstanding books for youth by African American authors and illustrators that demonstrate an appreciation of affirm African American culture and universal human values. The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society.

Such notable African American authors and illustrators as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Walter Dean Myers, Virginia Hamilton, Jerry Pinkney and Christopher Paul Curtis are just an example of the notable artists who have received the award.

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