Coretta Scott King Award

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.   

Year: 2015

Firebird

Author: Misty Copeland Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

Who do you picture when you think of famous, important, or successful people? Are there people of all races and ethnicities in those groups?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Once, most ballerinas were white. Is that still true? Why might that be so?

  • Empathy- Do you have a dream that you needed encouragement to pursue? If not, ask your parents or other adults if they have. Find out more about those dreams.

  • Advocacy- Copeland’s letter to readers ends with, “I want to bring many with me to trace and create an even more vivid road to acceptance of yourself and from others.” Is she being an advocate? If so, how?

  • Action- Think of ways you can support others’ dreams. Put those ideas into action.

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2014

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me

Author: Daniel Beaty Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

The absence of a parent whether from divorce, death or other circumstances is traumatic for any child.  How does the boy in this story move on from the temporary loss of his father?  

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Bryan Collier combines watercolor and collage to create the illustrations.  What elements of the illustrations assist in telling the story?  (Hint: look at the rainbow in the story and look up what elephants symbolize in African cultures) 
  • Empathy- How would you feel if one of your caregivers did not come home one day?
  • Advocacy- Identify organizations that assist young people who may be missing or lacking strong role models in their lives. 
  • Action- In the story, the boy receives a letter from his father telling him to be confident, self-reliant and to dream still.  What is something you have learned to do on your own?  

 

Book reviewed by Kathleen Barill, Director of Heterick Memorial Library, ONU

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2014

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop

Author: Laban Carrick Hill Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Guiding Question:

Can you imagine influencing the world through something that you love? DJ Kool Herc was living in an area of America that many people believe is very violent when he began to influence the world through his art form. Why is this significant?

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Kool Herc could have easily given up on his desire to become a DJ. Why do you think he persisted?

  • Empathy- How do you feel when it seems to take so long for someone you want to happen?

  • Advocacy- Read the Author’s Note at the end of the story to find out more about the Bronx, where Kool Herc lived during most of this story. What else can you find out about the Bronx, both positive and negative?

  • Action- In the Author’s Note, he talks about a youth culture and the positive impact of breakdancing. How can you help people better understand the youth culture, and dance forms such as hip hop and breakdancing if they’re not already aware?

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2013

I, Too, Am America

Author: Langston Hughes Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

Note all of the places the American flag or portions of it shows up in this book. What do you think the illustrator is saying through the use of the flag in his illustrations? After reading the story, read the Illustrator’s Note at the end of the book. Reread the book with the understanding of why Brian Collier made his illustration decisions.

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- The first six illustrations of people show the work and working conditions of the African American men who worked as Pullman porters on passenger trains. The mostly white passengers are not shown. How do you think the passengers and porters interacted? The following link provides information on what Pullman porters experienced on their jobs and why they formed unions: http://old.post-gazette.com/lifestyle/20020224pullman0224fnp2.asp
  • Empathy- Have you thought about the people who provide services to you? How do you treat the school’s custodians, cooks, bus drivers, secretaries or those who provide other services? What do you think is the best and worst parts of their jobs? Write thank you notes and hand deliver them to each of the people that provide you services at your school.
  • Advocacy- Find out if there are any nearby labor unions that could talk to your class about how unions work and their importance. Becoming informed is the first step to advocacy.
  • Action- Choose one of the service workers you wrote a note to. Discuss with your classmates something you could all do to make a difference in that person’s life that is more than a one-time favor.
Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2012

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Author: Kadir Nelson Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Guiding Question:

Have you and your family, friends or community ever banded together when you wanted to change something? Look up labor unions and discuss whether or not you think labor unions are a good idea. (You can relate labor unions to page 56 in this book.) 

This book has so many examples of injustice that occurred over the life of the U.S. as well as heroes- the slave trade and lives of slaves,  (15-37), lack of and differentiated education (24, 43, 48, 85), the Civil War (26-37), life during Reconstruction (39-45), Jim Crow (45, 53,56, 85) life on the frontier (46-51), the Great Migration (53-), the black women’s vote (69), W.W. II (70-77), Martin Luther King, Jr. (80-99), Little Rock Nine (86), Rosa Parks and boycotting, (89), and the Freedom Riders (91).

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty The end flap of the book states, “The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define this country.”
  • Empathy- This book explains many of the struggles of African Americans from the injustice of slavery, their hopes of winning freedom as soldiers in the Revolutionary War and Civil Wars, their trials after the Civil War, and their desire to live the American dream before and after the World Wars. Which time period do you think was the most difficult? Why?
  • Advocacy- Chapter 7 describes the migration of many Black people to northern cities. There they had to deal with the fights between labor unions and management. Labor unions are designed to be advocates for workers. How should the unions have been able to help the black workers?
  • Action- The workers pictured on pages on pages 58-59 are striking. How do strikes work? Are there unfair practices that you would consider striking over?
Sociology Concepts:
  • Discrimination
  • Power
  • Groups
  • Wisdom
  • Reflexivity

Year: 2012

Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom

Author: Shane W. Evans Publisher: Square Fish

Guiding Question:

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

Honesty-

Empahty-

Advocacy-

Action-

Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2011

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

Author: Laban Carrick Hill Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

Do you think Dave the Potter was ever free? In what way(s)? 

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- Dave is known to have made beautiful pottery and could read and write. He probably had an easier life than many slaves, but he was not free for most of his life. He was sold several times and his family was sold away from him.
  • Empathy- How have you felt when you have been separated from your family? How would you feel if you knew you would never see them again?
  • Advocacy- For older student, explain the concept of government reparations. Discuss the topic using the following website or others:
  • http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/05/23/case-reparations-40-acres-mule-co...
  • https://pando.com/2014/05/31/paying-reparations-to-everyone-america-has-...
  • Action- For older students, read the two bulleted articles on reparations and write a paper that explains why you think the U.S. government should or should not pay reparations to descendants of slaves.
  • Advocacy and Action- For younger students, create a piece of artwork or a written work that describes how Dave must have felt to have his family taken away. Post your work in a public place with a reference so people can learn more about Dave.
Sociology Concepts:
  • Life chances (opportunity to provide yourself with positive living conditions and favorable life experiences)
  • Stratification (he was a skilled worker but it didn’t matter because of his social position)
  • Master status (a social location that trumps all other statuses-- all that mattered was the color of his skin)

Year: 2010

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves

Author: Vaunda  Micheaux Nelson Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

Guiding Question:

This story portrays the amazing life of an African American man. It also shows some examples of prejudice and discrimination. Who is biased and who has been discriminated against? 

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- The author tells us that Bass was “respected and he was hated. Some whites didn’t like the notion of a black man with a badge.” How could this attitude make it difficult for Bass to do his job?
  • Empathy- Have you ever been hated or not treated right  because you’re different from someone else? How did this affect you?
  • Advocacy- In most schools some students are bullied by others. Look for students who are being bullied and make a plan with your teachers to stop the bullying.
  • Action- With your teacher, go to the ADL website and select some of the books from the Books Matter page for classroom study. You might also be interested in doing fund raising projects to help raise money for “No Longer a Target” that helps people who are being bullied.

The section at the back of the book “Further Reading and Websites” provides information to continue with lessons about bias and discrimination.
 

Sociology Concepts:
  • Identity (ways in which people views themselves)
  • Role (expectations of people in a given social position; Marshall, blacl man)
  • Ascribed status (social location a society deems important and wants to know about all its members but over which the individual has no control—race, gender, ethnicity, parents social class, parents religion, etc)
  • Achieved status (social location earned through some effort—i.e. a job, an accomplishment, a conviction for breaking a law, a hobby, etc)
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotypes
  • Marginalization
  • Anomie- a feeling of normlessness and anxiety caused by a lack of integration into society)

Year: 2010

My People

Author: Langston Hughes Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Guiding Question:

Before reading this book, look at all of the pictures with your classmates, and describe what you see. How did you describe the people in the photographs?

 

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

  • Honesty- How would you have chosen to have illustrated this poem? Why might your choices be different from that of Charles R. Smith? Discuss why that might be.
  • Empathy- Look for images of African American people in popular media. Are these images similar to or different from the images of the African Americans in this book’s photographs? Discuss why that might be.
  • Advocacy- Select one of the sources that you used to find images of African Americans that you feel uses negative images or stereotypes. As a class write to that source stating whether or not you believe those images are appropriate, as well as your hopes for future images of people of all racial groups.
  • Action- Choose a story that you’ve already written. Draw new illustrations for it using positive images for people of several races. Does this change the feel of your story?
Sociology Concepts:

Year: 2001

The Other Side

Author: Jacqueline Woodson Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

Guiding Question:

Why do you think the girls' mothers didn't want them to cross the fence? People of color were not always treated equally in U.S. history. Why does the fence separate the two parts of town? How are people of color treated today? 

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85)::

Honesty- Should skin color matter in a friendship? Why or why not? How did Clover's friends treat Annie?

Empathy- How would you feel if you were restricted to one area and couldn't cross a fence even though you wanted to? Do you think the mothers were being too protective or could there have been some dangers for Clover and Annie?

Advocacy- Are there places within your community that are more integrated than others while others remain largely segregated? Some places you can look include community parks, or theatres, or organizations such as a community orchestra or certain churches. Research how the places that are integrated became that way. 

Action- Look for ways to become part of more integrated groups. 

Sociology Concepts: