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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fun Facts About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Hey, dude.  The 40th Anniversary of the Coretta Scot King Book Awards is nigh.  Full credit to Meghan Clinton for typing up this list of facts:




Lillie Patterson was the first author to receive the Coretta Scott King Book Award for “Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace.”

The author who has won the most Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Walter Dean Myers with five wins.

The illustrator who has won the most Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Jerry Pinkney with five wins.

Coretta Scott King received a special citation in 1984 for “The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Critically-acclaimed actor, Sidney Poitier, won the Coretta Scott King Book Award in 1981 for “This Life.”

Internationally renowned artist, Lev Mills, designed the Coretta Scott King Book Award seal in 1974.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award has honored 113 authors and illustrators over the past 40 years.

In 1995, Sharon Draper was the first author to win the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award (formerly known as the Genesis Award) for “Tears of a Tiger.” Three years later, she won her first Coretta Scott King Book Award for “Forged by Fire.”

After winning her first Coretta Scott King Book Author Award for “Toning the Sweep” in 1994, Angela Johnson went on to win the 2003 MacArthur “Genius” Award.

In 2000, Christopher Paul Curtis became the first author to win the Coretta Scott King Book Award and the Newbery Medal for the same book “Bud, Not Buddy.”

In 1972, several dozens of librarians gathered for the first Coretta Scott King Book Awards gala breakfast. This year, close to 1,000 are expected to celebrate in Chicago, IL.

The 2009 winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards are Kadir Nelson, author of “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,” and Floyd Cooper, illustrator of “The Blacker the Berry.” 

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Collecting Children's Books says:

    Here’s another fun fact. One of the criteria for the award is that the author or illustrator must be African American. Carol Fenner had a CSK Honor Book with THE SKATES OF UNCLE RICHARD and she was caucasian. The committee forgot to check her ethnicity. (Come to think of it, how DOES one check an author’s ethnicity? Do you call the publisher and say, “Hey, can you tell me what race Carol Fenner is?”)

  2. Thank you for letting us know the name of the ‘winner by mistake.’ For years I’ve heard about it, but had mis-remembered the name.

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    Factoid: an untrue piece of information masquerading as a fact. Coined by Norman Mailer.

    Fact: the Horn Book will for the first time be publishing the CSK acceptance speeches in the ALA awards issue, July-August 2009.

  4. Zat so? Well, I’ll think we’ve all learned something here today. Which is to say I have. *cough*

  5. Roger Sutton says:

    Forgive me Fuse; somewhere along the line it became my personal mission to correct the factoids of the world. Must be the librarian in me!

  6. I’d much rather be gently corrected than remain wrong. However I’ve a book due out this May with ALA Editions and I’m desperately wracking my brain to remember whether or not I used the term “factoids” in it at some point. I could just go to the original document and search for the word . . . but I think I’d prefer to sit in ignorance for a while.

  7. Here’s the OED definition (without all the lovely examples they always include in the entries):

    A. n. Something that becomes accepted as a fact, although it is not (or may not be) true; spec. an assumption or speculation reported and repeated so often that it is popularly considered true; a simulated or imagined fact.

    B. adj. Of or having the character of a factoid, quasi-factual; spec. designating writing (esp. journalism) which contains a mixture of fact and supposition or invention presented as accepted fact.

  8. Is there a word that means what we commonly want factoid to mean? If not, perhaps we can create one. Factini (a teeny, or small fact) perhaps? Facto? (Which, if proven untrue, could be de-facto-ed…) A fine university could be a factopia…Sorry, the stream of consciousness is flooding a bit.