Monday, November 30, 2009

The Short List

Participants are asked to read at least five of the following books. If one that you would like to discuss is not listed, please include it in the comment section of this post. Thanks!

Amiri & Odette: A Love Story by Walter Dean Myers, illustrations by Javaka Steptoe

Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrations by R. Gregory Christie

Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers, illustrations by Christopher Myers

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

My People by Langston Hughes, photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Rich by Nikki Grimes, illustrations by R. Gregory Christie

Riot by Walter Dean Myers

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden, illustrations by Don Tate

Shooting Star by Fredrick McKissack Jr.

Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson, illustrations by Jerry Pinkney

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson, illustrations by Kadir Nelson

We Troubled the Waters by Ntozake Shange, illustrations by Rod Brown

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Abstract: As a testament to his courage, Jackie Robinson's daughter shares memories of him, from his baseball career to the day he tests the ice for her, her brothers, and their friends.

Publisher: Scholastic, 40 pages

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Creating a Short List

For our in-person discussion on January 17, we will work off a short list of suggested titles. Which books would you like to see included? Do you have any titles that have been missed?

Our deadline for the creation of the short list: November 30.

Splitsville by Shelia Goss

Abstract: The Diva's creed (All for one, one for all; never let the other fall) is back in full effect now that Jasmine and Sierra are no longer fighting for the attention of DJ Johnson--and it's a good thing, because the girls need each other now more than ever.

Publisher: Urban Renaissance, 280 pages

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rich by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Abstract: Dyamonde Daniel is excited about the local library’s poetry contest, and so is her friend Free. The prize is one hundred dollars—just think what they could buy with that much money! But when they find out that Damaris, one of their classmates, has been living in a homeless shelter, their ideas about what it means to be rich or poor start to change. And when they get to know Damaris, they realize the one who could use the prize money the most also happens to be the best poet in class.

Publisher: Putnam's Sons, 96 pages

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Abstract: In the 1940s, as the world was at war, an all-female jazz band performed on the American home front. They dared to be an interracial group despite the cruelties of Jim Crow laws, and they dared to assert their talents though they were women in a “man’s” profession.

Publisher: Dial, 80 pages.

Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers

Abstract: This jumping, jazzy, joyful picture book celebrates every child, and every thing that child can be.

Publisher: Egmont, 32 pages.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Am Barack Obama by Charisse Carney-Nunes, illustrated by Ann Marie Williams

Abstract: I Am Barack Obama is not a book about Barack Obama. Rather, it allows children to see themselves through the inspirational story of President Obama growing up as an ordinary child asking, “Who will change the world?”

Publisher: Brand Nu Words, 36 pages

Olu's Dream written and illustrated by Shane Evans

Abstract: It's time for bed, but Olu would rather play than sleep. When he finally drifts off, Olu discovers he's at the wheel of an extraordinary adventure.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, 40 pages

Monday, October 12, 2009

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Abstract: Spunky third-grader Dyamonde Daniel misses her old neighborhood, but when she befriends a boy named Free, another new student at school, she finally starts to feel at home.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 74 pages

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

From Back Cover: Sitting tall in the saddle, with a wide-brimmed black hat and twin Colt pistols on his belt, Bass Reeves seemed bigger than life. Outlaws feared him. Law-abiding citizens respected him. As a peace officer, he was cunning and fearless. When a lawbreaker heard Bass Reeves had his warrant, he knew it was the end of the trail, because Bass always got his man, dead or alive.

Publisher: Carolrhoda, 40 p.

Riot by Walter Dean Myers

Abstract: In 1863, fifteen-year-old Claire, the daughter of an Irish mother and a black father, faces ugly truths and great danger when Irish immigrants, enraged by the Civil War and a federal draft, lash out against blacks and wealthy "swells" of New York City.

Publisher: Egmont, 164 pages

The Ultimate Test by Shelia M. Goss

From the back cover: The Diva's Creed: All for one, one for all; never let the other fall. Ever since they met in their elite private school, Britney, Jasmine, and Sierra have lived by these words, but now that they're entering their freshman year in a public high school, their bond is about to be put to the ultimate test.

Publisher: Urban Renaissance, 288 pages

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I and I: Bob Marley by Tony Medina

Abstract: A biography in verse about the Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley, offering an overview of key events and themes in his life, including his biracial heritage, Rastafarian beliefs, and love of music. End notes on poems provide further biographical information

Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 48 p.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shooting Star by Fredrick L. McKissack Jr.

Abstract: Jomo Rogers, a naturally talented athlete, starts taking performance enhancing drugs in order to be an even better high school football player, but finds his life spinning out of control as his game improves.

Publisher: Atheneum, 288 p.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown

Abstract: Three Southern children, two black and one white, escape from their homes during the horrors of the Civil War and, after meeting in the woods, gradually come to rely on each other as they make their way slowly north, enduring hunger, fear, sickness, and constant danger, before arriving in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

Publisher: Putnam's, 272 p.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flipping the Script by Paula Chase

Abstract: It's junior year at Del Rio Bay High, and Mina's feeling insecure while her boyfriend Brian is at Duke University. Meanwhile, Rob's presence around the clique triggers star athlete JZ's feelings of homophobia.

Publisher: Kensington, 280 p.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mother Poems, words and pictures by Hope Anita Smith

Abstract: A young girl thinks of her mom as a superhero, a doctor, her North Star. She feels loved in her mother's arms and capable of conquering the world. But when her beloved role model unexpectedly dies, she cannot even cry; sadness is too overwhelming. As she struggles with grief, she must learn how to carry on while keeping the memory of her mother very much alive inside her heart.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., 72 p.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Goes Around by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller

Abstract: Wealthy and beautiful African American twin sisters Sydney and Lauren must solve a family mystery before their privileged life in Atlanta comes to an end.

Publisher: Scholastic, 317 p.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Another Hero by Sharon M. Draper

Abstract: As Kofi, Arielle, Dana, November, and Jericho face personal challenges during their last year of high school, a misunderstood student brings a gun to class and demands to be taken seriously.

Publisher: Atheneum, 280 p.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Way We Roll by Stephanie Perry Moore

Abstract: New pledge Malloy Murray runs into her crush, Kade, and things heat up fast. But Sharon, a Beta sister, is dating Kade and vows to do everything she can to keep Malloy out of the sorority.

Publisher: Dafina/ Kensington, 210 p.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook, art by 13 Illustrators

llustrators: Cozbi A. Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Bryan Collier, Pat Cummings, Leo and Diane Dillon, AG Ford, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, James Ransome, Charlotte Riley-Webb, Shadra Strickland and Eric Velasquez

Abstract: Part historical, part poetry, and entirely inspirational, this unique picture book takes the reader through the cumulative story of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, expanding the popular slogan beyond Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Barack Obama to include more key players in the struggle for equality.

Publisher: Bloomsbury, unpaged

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

Abstract: Teens Octavia and Tali learn about strength, independence, and courage when they are forced to take a car trip with their grandmother, who tells about growing up Black in 1940s Alabama and serving in Europe during World War II as a member of the Women’s Army Corps.

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 341 p.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Amiri & Odette: A Love Story, a poem by Walter Dean Myers, paintings by Javaka Steptoe

Abstract: Presents a modern, urban retelling in verse of the ballet in which brave Amiri falls in love with beautiful Odette and fights evil Big Red for her on the streets of the Swan Lake Projects.

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 37 p.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sassy: Little Sister Is Not My Name by Sharon M. Draper

Abstract: Fashion-savy Sassy does not like being the smallest student in her fourth-grade class, until a family emergency calls for a pint-sized hero.

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 102 p.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Abstract: In 1968 Chicago, fourteen-year-old Sam Childs is caught in a conflict between his father's nonviolent approach to seeking civil rights for African Americans and his older brother, who has joined the Black Panther Party.

Publisher: Aladdin, 290 p.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden, illustrated by Don Tate

Abstract: One summer day in 1959, nine-year-old Ron McNair, who dreams of becoming a pilot, walks into the Lake City, South Carolina, public library and insists on checking out some books, despite the rule that only white people can have library cards. Includes facts about McNair, who grew up to be an astronaut.

Publisher : Dutton Childrens Books, 30 pages.

The Brown Bookshelf interviews the current CSK Chairperson

Deborah Taylor is the current chairperson of the real Coretta Scott King Book Award committee. The members of the Brown Bookshelf talk with her "about the award's journey. Where it came from, where it's been and where it and publishing, in general, should go." Visit The Brown Bookshelf for the interview.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

Abstract: Seeing no way out of his difficult life in Harlem, seventeen-year-old Jeremy "Lil J" Dance flees into a house after a drug deal goes awry and meets a weird man who shows different turning points in Lil J's life when he could have made better choices.

Publisher: Amistad/HarperTeen, 186 p.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fun Facts about the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Thanks to A Fuse #8 Production for posting the following list which she credits to Meghan Clinton:


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.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mourning Mabel R. McKissick, Coretta Scott King Book Awards co-Founder

We learned via an American Library Association news release that Mabel R. McKissick, co-founder of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, died on Friday, March 20, 2009.

Our condolences to her family and friends.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Abstract: During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 275 p.

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia

Abstract: The lives of Leticia, Dominique, and Trina are irrevocably intertwined through the course of one day in an urban high school after Leticia overhears Dominique's plans to beat up Trina and must decide whether or not to get involved.

Publisher: HarperTeen/Amistad, 169 p.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Words to My Life's Song by Ashley Bryan

Abstract: A picture book autobiography of award-winning author/illustrator, Ashley Bryan.

Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 58 pages

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Abstract: Captures the movement for civil rights in the United States and honors its most elegant inspiration, Coretta Scott.

Publisher: HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks, [unpaged]

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Abstract: Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 134 p.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Abstract: The famous poem, taken from The collected poems of Langston Hughes (c1994), illustrated with watercolors.

Publisher: Disney Jump at the Sun Books, [unpaged]

My People by Langston Hughes, photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Abstract: Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribute to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Smith interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.

Publisher: New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ginee seo books, [30] p.

Friday, January 30, 2009


For several years, we have wanted to host a Mock Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Award program. This is the year to begin! You are invited to join us on this adventure as we discover and discuss the books of 2009 and select our own 2010 Mock Coretta Scott King Book awards, using the criteria of the real Coretta Scott King Book Award.

The real awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Committee of the American Library Association's Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). This committee presents three awards: CSK Author Award, CSK Illustrator Award, and the John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

The purpose of the awards is, as written on the ALA EMIERT's The Coretta Scott King Book Award's Selection Process page, "to encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts, including biographical, historical and social history treatments by African American authors and illustrators." Please refer to that page for the complete criteria. Here's an abbreviated version of what we are to consider: original work published in the U.S. by an African American writer or illustrator in which the African American experience is portrayed. The work must be quality writing and illustration for youth and "seek to motivate readers to develop their own attitudes and behaviors as well as comprehend their personal duty and responsibility as citizens in a pluralistic society."

We will obtain titles from review journals such as School Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist and Publishers Weekly. We will read blogs, specifically The Brown Bookshelf (, for titles being discussed. We also encourage suggestions from you.

To recommend books to be discussed, please leave a comment here or email Just comment here or send an email to acplmockcsk at gmail dot com.