1999

Author Award Winner

Heaven by Angela Johnson   YA Johnson, A.
This winner of the Coretta Scott King Award takes place in Heaven, an Ohio town where 14-year-old Marley has grown up. One day she discovers the people she calls Momma and Pops are not really her parents. She is forced to question all her assumptions about who she is, in this tale about the search for identity and the power of forgiveness. Young Adult

Honor Books

Jazmin's Notebook by Nikki Grimes   YA Grimes, N.
Jazmin, a 14-year-old girl living in Harlem in the 1960s, fills her journal with laughs, anger, and hope. Captured within the pages of her tough, exuberant life are all the beauty, chaos, confusion, and clarity that accompany the excitement of exploring life's possibilities--and discovering they are endless. Young Adult

Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: The Story of New York's African Burial Ground by Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan
In September 1991, archaeologists began to turn up graves and bodies in lower Manhattan. Well-known maps had shown that this was the site of New York's first burial ground for slaves and free blacks. "Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence" uses the rediscovery of the burial grounds as a window on a fascinating side of colonial history and as an introduction to the careful science that is uncovering all of the secrets of the past. Ages 9-12

The Other Side: Shorter Poems by Angela Johnson
Before the town of Shorter, Alabama, went the way of many small towns in the U.S., Johnson was beckoned by her grandmother to visit one last time: "They're pulling Shorter down ... come see your past before it's all dust, baby." In this collection of poems, Johnson recalls portions of her childhood in Shorter, paying tribute to the people, places, and experiences of a beloved past. As she visits the places of her childhood, her memories unfold--dancing to hip-hop music in the woods, getting caught with her first cigarette, piano lessons with Miss Delta, voting, a father still shell-shocked from Vietnam, her eventual move to Ohio. From the first poem to the last, these deeply personal writings move the reader to feel Johnson's love of Shorter, her childhood, and her sense of loss as the town disappears. With a scattering of photos, this short collection packs a powerful punch.  Ages 9 and up

Illustrator Award Winner

i see the rhythm , ill. by Michele Wood; text by Toyomi Igus
A celebration of African-American music and the far-reaching impact it has had on the world, "I See the Rhythm" traces the progression of black music from its traditional roots in Africa to contemporary hip hop. Ages 4-8

Honor Books

I Have Heard of a Land , ill. by Floyd Cooper; text by Joyce Carol Thomas  j E THO
A National Book Award-winning author draws on family history for this lyrical account of America's little-known past. In the late 1880s, thousands of pioneers, many former slaves, raced to the Oklahoma Territory to stake their claim. "I Have Heard of a Land", a hymn to liberty and unity, commemorates the strength of the African-American pioneers. Ages 4-8

The Bat Boy and His Violin , ill. by E.B. Lewis; text by Gavin Curtis    j E CUR
There's nothing Reginald loves more than the music from his violin. But his father, manager of one of the worst baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, needs a bat boy, not a "fiddler". Needing a place to practice, Reginald fills the dugout with music in his spare moments--and inspires a rally by the team that culminates in a showdown with the best team in the league. Ages 4-8

Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra j 921 ELLINGTON, D, Pin ill. by Brian Pinkney; text by Andrea Davis Pinkney
The award-winning author/illustrator team of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney--creators of the popular picture book "Alvin Ailey"--now present a swinging, vibrant picture title about the jazz composer Edward Kennedy Ellington, better known as "Duke." Ages 4-8

1998

Author Award Winner

Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper, YA Draper, S.
After he was almost killed in an apartment fire, while his mother went to buy drugs, Gerald was raised by his aunt.  Then one day, six years later, his mother returns with her new husband and Angel, Gerald's little sister.  As the children grow up, it becomes more and more apparent that Angel needs Gerald's protection from her father's abuse.  But who will protect Gerald?  Young Adult

Honor Books

Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement by James Haskins
A riveting biography of one of the key players of the civil rights movement. From a highly esteemed chronicler of African American history, this biography is a compelling profile, perfect for young readers fascinated with the behind-the-scenes battles of America's early years. Young Adult

I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen  j Hansen, J.
In this latest addition to the Dear America series, Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author Joyce Hansen presents the inspiring story of Patsy, a freed girl who becomes a great teacher.
Ages 9-12

Illustrator Award Winner

In Daddy's Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers , ill. by Javaka Steptoe; text by Alan Schroeder
In this collection of poetry by new and established African-American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor and grace. Contributors include Carole Boston Weatherford, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez and Davida Adedjouma.
Grades 3-5

Honor Books

Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry , by Ashley Bryan   j 811 ASH
Not an alphabet book in the usual sense, this highly creative work catches the essence of 25 poems and an African American spiritual. Short full verses or complete poems are presented, but more often Bryan has chosen a fragment, a sample that may lure the reader on to the whole. Ages 4-8

Harlem , ill. by Christopher Myers; text by Walter Dean Myers  j 811 MYE

Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and James Baldwin have sung their songs about Harlem. Now Newbery Honor author Walter Dean Myers joins their chorus in calling to life the deep, rich and hope-filled history of this community. Christopher Myers' boldly assembled art resonates with feeling and tells a tale all its own.

Ages 4-8

The Hunterman and the Crocodile , by Baba Wagué Diakité 
Donso, a West African hunterman, learns the importance of living in harmony with nature and the necessity of placing humans among, not above, all other living things. Ages 4-8

1997

Author Award Winner

Slam by Walter Dean Myers   YA Myers, W.
Sixteen-year-old Greg "Slam" Harris can do it all on the basketball court. His grades aren't so hot, though. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, Slam blows up. He never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one on one with his future. Young Adult

Honor Book

Rebels Against Slavery: American Slave Revolts by Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack
The award-winning authors explore an important, neglected area of history. Here are exciting true stories of African-American rebels who fought against slavery, such as Cinque, leader of a slave ship revolt who went before the Supreme Court and won freedom for himself and his shipmates, Nat Turner, and many others.
Ages 9-12

Illustrator Award Winner

Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman ill. by Jerry Pinkney; text by Alan Schroeder  j E SCH
Many people know about Harriet Tubman's adult life--how she helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom along the Underground Railroad. But how know about Harriet Tubman's life as a little African-American girl? This dramatic portrayal will open the eyes of countless young readers and help them to know the little girl who would become one of America's greatest heroines.  Ages 4-8

Honor Books

The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children , ill. by Gregorie Christie; edited by Davida Adedjouma 
Produced during the course of a creative writing workshop with members of the Minneapolis Inner City Youth League and the African-American Academy of Accelerated Learning, this collection of free verse is inspiring and enlightening. The poets, ranging in age from six to 12 years old, explore and interpret their lives and feelings as extensions of their heritage. Coretta Scott King Honor Award and "Parenting" magazine Reading Magic Award. Ages 4-8

Running The Road To ABC , ill. by Reynold Ruffins; text by Denize Lauture
Six children run n the Road to ABCto beat the rising sun to their school. Though there is little story, the rich lyrical language used by Lauture, a Haitian poet, creates a strong sense of place, while imagery and patterns of text build tension. Warmly detailed gouache paintings propel the reader to the next page in this optimistic glimpse of Haitian children working for a brighter future. Ages 4-8

Neeny Coming, Neeny Going , ill. by Synthia Saint James; text by Karen English
Essie is excited to see her cousin Neeny, who recently moved to the South Carolina mainland from Daufuskie Island. Neeny is now a fancy young lady, no longer interested in the island way of life. But does anyone ever really forget their roots? Essie knows the answer and gives her cousin a special gift that wil l always keep the island close to her. Ages 4-8

1996

Author Award Winner

Her Stories by Virginia Hamilton   j 398.2 HAM
In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Ages 9-12

Honor Books

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
This Newbery Honor book takes listeners on a family trip with the Watson family from Michigan to Alabama during the tempestuous Civil Rights uprisings of the 1960s. Ages 9-12

Like Sisters on the Homefront by Rita Williams-Garcia
When 14-year-old Gayle gets into trouble again, Mama sends her south to live with her aunt and uncle, a minister. They'll hardly let her out of the house and she doesn't like her cousin Cookie. Then Gayle meets Great, the family matriarch. Gayle's life begins to change--perhaps she can make her own place in the world after all. Young Adult

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun  by Jacqueline Woodson
Melanin Sun and Mama have always been the whole family, with a special closeness that no one has ever been able to come between. Now all that has changed. Suddenly, Mama is shutting doors that were always kept open--and Melanin Sun begins to realize she's been keeping secrets from him for a long, long time. Young Adult

Illustrator Award Winner

The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo by Tom Feelings
Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people. 64 paintings. Ages 4-8

Honor Books

Her Stories , ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon; text by Virginia Hamilton    j 398.2 HAM
In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Ages 9-12
 

The Faithful Friend , ill. by Brian Pinkney; text by Robert San Souci
In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows.Ages 4-8 

1995

Author Award Winner

Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack  j 975 MCK
In a poignant, heartwarming book rich in historical detail and careful research, two Coretta Scott King Award-winning authors movingly describe Christmas on a pre-Civil War plantation from two starkly different points of view--the big house and the slave quarters. Magnificent full-color illustrations, along with recipes, poems, songs, journal excerpts, and more add depth and authenticity to this extraordinary book. Ages 9-12

Honor Books

The Captive by Joyce Hansen
When Kofi's father, an Ashanti chief, is killed, Kofi is sold as a slave and ends up in Massachusetts, where his fate is in the hands of Paul Cuffe, an African American shipbuilder who works to return slaves to their homeland in Africa. Young Adult

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson
This sensitive yet gritty novel about incest may be Woodson's ( Between Madison and Palmetto ) strongest work to date. Marie, the eighth-grade narrator, lives in an all-black suburb of Athens, Ohio, with her father; her mother, who has inherited money from her own parents, sends arty messages from the far-flung locales she has toured since leaving the family two years ago. Ignoring the sneers of her friends--and her father's warnings--Marie befriends ``whitetrash'' Lena, the new girl at school. Woodson confronts sticky questions about race head-on, with the result that her observations and her characterizations are all the more trustworthy. Her approach to the incest theme is less immediate but equally convincing--Marie receives Lena's restrained confidences about being molested, at first disbelieving Lena, then torn between her desire to help her friend and her promise not to tell anyone. Lena has tried all the textbook solutions--including reporting her father to the authorities--and has learned that outside interference only brings more trouble. Marie, struggling to cope with her mother's desertion, must accept Lena's disappearance, too, when Lena and her younger sister first decide to run away and then do flee. Told in adroitly sequenced flashbacks, Woodson's novel is wrenchingly honest and, despite its sad themes, full of hope and inspiration. Ages 12-up 

Black Diamond: Story of the Negro Baseball League by Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack
This book goes far beyond the few familiar photographs and names most readers associate with the Negro Baseball Leagues, and it makes the trip in style. We discover, for example, that George Washington's troops were "batting balls and running bases" and that the nineteenth-century relationship between baseball and race was more diverse than many young readers may realize. The McKissacks carefully record the differences of opinion about some events and the difficulty of finding source material. Oral histories from surviving players add startling depth to descriptions of conditions of play and travel, and Jackie Robinson's entry into major league ball becomes a richer and more complicated moment because the authors show where Robinson came from (and how) in addition to where he went. A player roster will be helpful to students, and a time line carefully weaves together the sports world and the world of lynchings, race riots, the Civil War, and the incandescent electric lamp. Grades 6-10

Illustrator Award Winner

The Creation , ill. by James Ransome; text by James Weldon Johnson    j 811 CRE
A poem based on the story of creation from the first book of the Bible. Ages 4-8

Honor Books

The Singing Man , ill. by Terea Shaffer; text by Angela Shelf Medearis
In Medearis's adaptation of a Nigerian folktale, young Banzar unrelentingly pursues his dream of becoming a musician. Because of this impractical choice, he is told to leave home; later, as a well-known griot, he is reunited with his family. Shaffer portrays the Nigerian people and the Nigerian countryside with realistic oil paintings, and colorful borders reflect textile designs. Ages 4-8

Meet Danitra Brown , ill. by Floyd Cooper; text by Nikki Grimes  j 811 GRI
A collection of 13 original poems that stand individually and also blend together to tell a story of feelings and friendship between two African-American girls. Grimes creatively uses the voice of Zuri Jackson to share tales of the girls' moments of admiration, pain, self-assurance, pride in their cultural heritage, sadness, disappointments, play, and their thoughts and feelings about future dreams and aspirations. Cooper's distinguished illustrations in warm dusty tones convey the feeling of closeness. The poignant text and lovely pictures are an excellent collaboration, resulting in a look at touching moments of friendship with universal appeal. Grades 2-4