Fuse #8

Monday, January 15, 2007

Why Is No One Discussing the Coretta Scott King Award?

Mock Newbery Awards are a dime a dozen. Mock Caldecotts litter the streets. But Mock Coretta Scott King Awards... well they're a rare beastie. I never served on one myself, and the only one I've seen online were the results coming from the blog Born Librarians. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the Kansas City librarians are putting everyone else to shame. I know in my heart of hearts that there must be other Mock Coretta Scott King Awards out there, but where? Where?

Author Kyra Hicks was the person to bring my attention to this peculiar gap in our librarian Mocks. Unlike the Pura Belpre Awards, the Coretta Scott Kings come out every year. 2007 will be no exception. So what about it people? Do you have any top picks? Remember, it is described as being, "given to an African American author and an African American illustrator for an outstandingly inspirational and educational contribution. The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream." I've some pet creations of my own in mind all right.

By the way, Ms. Hicks also has a blog called Black Threads that I recommend you check out. It's described as, "Explorations in African American Quilting, Quilt History, Fabrics and other Fanciful Topics," and it's really lovely.

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At 4:52 AM , Blogger Monica Edinger said...

I suspect the paucity of Mock CSKs is related to the broader debate on identity-based awards.

Check out Roger's post, "Who Gets to Win" (http://www.hbook.com/blog/2007/01/who-gets-to-win.html)
as well as Marc Aronson's provocative article on the subject and Andrea Pinkney's response (both links are provided by Roger in his post).

And also see Mitali Perkins' very excellent post about it on her blog: http://the-fire-escape.blogspot.com/2007/01/ethnic-book-awards-discriminatory-or.html

At 5:31 AM , Anonymous Jennifer Groff said...

I've been talking about it with my students -- (2 & 3 grade) -- we've been looking at Moses, by Carole B. Weatherford, illus by Kadir Nelson, and Jazz, by Walter Dean Myers, illus by Christopher Myers -- but as one 2nd grade girl asked, "what about the regular books, not about the African Americans?" (she was African American, by the way) -- it does bring up the difficulty in discussing an identity-based award. Moses is lush in illus. but I admit I feel uncomfortable reading it aloud in a public school where many religions are represented (as the text is very God heavy)

At 12:06 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Personally, I felt the text in Moses was weak while the illustrations were perhaps the best Kadir Nelson has ever done. I hate it when this happens. Fabulous illustrators are sometimes paired with weak writing so that their images overshadow all other elements. I had the same objection to last year's Rosa as well. Then again, this might be more a Kadir Nelson problem than anything else. Undoubtedly that's why he keeps getting paired with celebrity authors.

Great links, Monica. I'll be checking them out immediately.

At 2:27 PM , Blogger Don Tate II said...

I thank you for being brave enough to raise the question.

At 6:45 PM , Blogger Kyra said...

Thanks for posting the question!

I read the articles Monica posted - and also read Don Tate's posts and his past predictions (http://devast.blogspot.com/) on the CSK Award.

We do still need the Coretta Scott King awards. Andrea Pinkney's comments still resonate with me, especially when she wrote about the young illustrator who listened to the noted lecturer in 2001 going through the history of children's picture books - and made no mention of an African American contribution!

I look forward to hearing what titles other librarians and children's book lovers would have for this year's CSK award. What titles would they recommend to young kids, including African American kids looking for award quality books.

I'm a first time picture book author and have not studied the 2006 books as they have been published. I wonder, however, if Queen Latifah and Frank Morrison (illustrator) will gain additional recognition for "Queen of the Scene"? Or will Frank Morrison get a nod for "George Crum and the Saratoga Chip". I wonder if illustrator Cathy Ann Johnson (from my old Hallmark Cards days) will gain additional recognition for her body of work... or for 2006's "My Pop Pop and Me" by Irene Smalls. Two biographies on my reading list are Curtis James' "Freedom Ship" by Doreen Rappaport and "An Apple for Harriet Tubman" by Glennette Tilley Turner.

Best, Kyra Hicks
author, "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria"

At 9:27 PM , Blogger Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, Monica, for sending people to my post, as the comments there are helping me process some of my angst over identity-based awards. Happy MLK Day everybody!

At 11:45 PM , Blogger Robin said...

I have been talking with my (second grade) children about the CSK picture book awards and have considered a number this year.

I love _Dear Mr. Rosenwald_, illustrated by Greg Christie very much. It is written by Carole Boston Weatherford. Night Boat to Freedom, written by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is a quiet book of a bravery and daring.
There are a bunch of really terrific new books--but, since they are published in 2007, they are not eligible this year. (Let it Shine by Ashley Bryan, Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson and Loren Long, Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (March, maybe??) and Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levin and Kadir Nelson)
Somehow I missed Julius Lester's fine This Strange New Feeling the first time it won a CSK, but I am thrilled it is being reissued in time for Valentine's Day. (Three love stories set during the mid 1850s--dedication, love and sacrifice in the search of freedom.) WOW.


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