It’s Black History Month, an exciting time to celebrate the achievements, improvements, and innovations that African Americans have made throughout the centuries. One such contribution is literature, of which there is a lush history of vibrant stories, tales of courage and bravery, and knee-slapping humor.
With the American Library Association’s (ALA) recent revelation of the 2016 award winners for children and young adults, the Coretta Scott King award winners are a fantastic way to introduce your students, patrons, or children, to some of the best modern African American authors and illustrators. Here are just a few:
“Gone Crazy in Alabama”
New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters as they venture from the hustled and hurried streets of Brooklyn to the quiet rural South for an entire summer. As the sisters learn more about their family history, mysteries begin to unfold. A powerful, yet comedic, piece of historical fiction perfect for middle school aged fiction lovers.
Today, Troy Andrews is better known as the Grammy-nominated headliner of the New Orleans Jazz Fest. But his journey into the ranks of musical history did not come easily to this young lad from the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. A magnificently illustrated book for young children, this uplifting story will teach the power of believing in yourself, your dreams, and most of all, music.
“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement”
This fascinating mixed-media art book full of intricate detail celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of civil rights for over twenty years, making waves and stirring things up. Young to middle school aged children will love the luminous artwork that portrays Fannie’s message of hope, inspiration, determination, and strength.
Hoodoo Hatcher is a young boy from a long lineage of family folk magic, but he can’t seem to be able to cast any spells. When a Stranger comes to his small Alabama town, Hoodoo must rely on old magic, or hoodoo, as they call it, to save the town. Written by Ronald L. Smith, a new and upcoming children’s book author.
These are just a few of the winners of Coretta Scott King’s series of awards from the ALA – they all share a similar message that these authors have all experienced first hand: Never give up, never doubt your value, and always live the life you imagine. Be sure to add these books and the other winners to your library catalog.