2003

Author Award Winner

Bronx Masquerade by  Nikki Grimes, YA Grimes, N.  
Eighteen students in a high school English class open up and take the risky challenge of self-revelation in weekly poetry sessions. Through their poetry and narratives, they share their most intimate thoughts about themselves and one another, their lives, and what lies beneath the skin and beyond the masquerade.

Honor Books

The Red Rose Box by Brenda Woods  YA Woods, B
Leah and her sister Ruth visit her rich aunt in California and can't believe how luxurious her aunt's lifestyle is compared to theirs in Sulphur, Louisiana--where the Jim Crow laws continue to keep the Southern blacks down. But when a tragedy forces Leah and Ruth to stay with their aunt in California, Leah begins to long for home.

 

Talkin' About Bessie: the Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman   Nikki Grimes j 921 COLEMAN, B., Gri
Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman lived during an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, but she didn't let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she vowed to become the first African-American female pilot. Her sturdy faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination. Full-color illustrations.

Illustrator Award Winner

Talkin' About Bessie: the Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman   Nikki Grimes j 921 COLEMAN, B., Gri
Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman lived during an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, but she didn't let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she vowed to become the first African-American female pilot. Her sturdy faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination. Full-color illustrations.

 

Honor Books

Rap A Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles-Think of That  Leo and Diane Dillion   j E DIL
This simple book for young children tells the life story of a groundbreaking African-American tap dancer, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, one of the most popular entertainers of the 1920s. Illustrations.

 

 

Visiting Langston  il. by Bryan Collier   text by Willie Perdomo  j E PER
A wonderful picture book from a hip young poet and an award-winning illustrator introduces young readers to a legendary American writer. Full color.

 

 

 

2002

Author Award Winner

The Land by Mildred D. Taylor YA Taylor, M.

The Land is a poignantly crafted story that chronicles the triumphs and struggles of life for Paul-Edward Logan, son of a white slave owner and an enslaved African-Indian woman. Set in Mississippi during the late 1800s, the book introduces readers to the grandfather of Cassie Logan, the impassioned hero of Taylor's 1977 Newbery Award winner "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry."

"Taylor offers an ingenious prequel to 'Roll of Thunder,'" said Award Committee Chair Fran Ware. "'The Land' unveils the precarious world of Paul-Edward Logan, a black boy who could pass for white and invites readers into his remarkable and painful journey to manhood. Taylor makes an exemplary contribution to chronicling the African-American experience with her finely developed characters and well-rounded storyline." Grades 7-10

Honor Books

Money-Hungry by Sharon G. Flake YA Flake, S.

 "If you got money, people can't take stuff from you--not your house, or your ride, not your family. They can't do nothing much to you, if you got a bankroll backing you up." Thirteen-year-old Raspberry Hill knows what it's like not to have security. After leaving her drug-addicted father, Raspberry and her mother lived on friends' couches and on the street before they landed in the projects. Now, while Raspberry's mom works two jobs and goes to school, Raspberry obsessively does anything she can to grow that bankroll to back her up; she sells pencils and old candy; cleans houses for the elderly; and washes cars at stoplights. Her three close friends both support her and mock her. There's Mia, who fights against her Korean and African American parents, wanting to identify herself only as black; Ja'nae, who lives with loving grandparents but yearns for her flaky, estranged mother; and Zora, whose divorced physician father, Dr. Mitchell, seems to be romancing Raspberry's mother, which upsets both girls. The razor-sharp dialogue and unerring details evoke characters, rooms, and neighborhoods with economy and precision, creating a story that's immediate, vivid, and unsensationalized. Without synthetic drama or stereotypes, Flake shows poverty and how it touches everyone, whether it's the actual absence of money or the fear of losing it. A few of the characters are less developed; Dr. Mitchell in particular is vague and a little too perfect. But Flake creates scenes of heart-stopping tenderness and tension between Raspberry and her friends and especially with her mother, as they struggle to leave the projects, suffering breakdowns and break-ins along the way, finally moving into a house of their own. Whatever teens' own familial insecurities may be, they will read something of their own lives in this title from the author of The Skin I'm In (1998). Grades 7-10

 Carver: a Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson 811 NEL

 This collection of poems provide a lyrical account of revered African-American botanist and inventor George Washington Carver, who was raised by white slave owners and went on to head the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute and conducted research for innovative uses for crops such as cowpeas, sweet potatoes, and peanuts.
  Grades 6 and up

 

Illustrator Award Winner

Goin' Someplace Special, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney; text by Patricia McKissack j E MCK

Here is McKissack's own story of growing up in Nashville. As 'Tricia Ann makes her first trip alone to the public library, she confronts the humiliation of a segregated society. Members of her own community and a kind white woman help her rely on her own sense of self-worth to complete the journey to her 'someplace special.'

"With wonderful detail and colors, Pinkney brings us right along with 'Tricia Ann as she travels to the one place she can open the door to freedom," said Award Committee Chair Fran Ware. "His expressive paintings portray the essence of 'Tricia Ann's emotions as she experiences both the reassurance of her community and the indignities of segregation." Ages 4-8

 

Honor Book

 

Martin's Big Words, illustrated by Bryan Collier; text by Doreen Rappoport   j 921 KING, M., Rap

This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young readers through his own words, using quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell his life story in a simple, direct way. Ages 4-8