Children's Corner: The latest kids' books to win the Coretta Scott King Awards

February 28, 2012 12:00 am
  • "Heart and Soul" combines Kadir Nelson's writing and artistry to produce an intriguing look at American history through the eyes of African-Americans.
    "Heart and Soul" combines Kadir Nelson's writing and artistry to produce an intriguing look at American history through the eyes of African-Americans.
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Celebrate Black History Month by reading the latest winners of the Coretta Scott King Awards, given annually to the best children's books written and illustrated by African-Americans.

Created in 1970, the Coretta Scott King Awards are named for the late wife of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and are designed to highlight the best children's books created each year by African-American authors and artists. The awards are sponsored by the American Library Association, and the winning books are chosen annually by a group of librarians and children's book experts.

For more information about the awards: www.ala.org/emiert/cskbookawards. For a list of books that previously won: www.ala.org/emiert/cskbookawards/recipients.

Here's a look at the 2012 winners.

CORETTA SCOTT KING AUTHOR AWARD WINNER:

Kadir Nelson has been called a "force of nature" -- with good reason. He's both an author of thought-provoking books and an artist whose brilliant illustrations are so realistically rendered that they seem like photographs.

In his newest book, "Heart and Soul" (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, $19.99, ages 10 up), he combines his writing and artistic talents to produce an intriguing new look at American history through the eyes of African-Americans.

Subtitled "The Story of America and African Americans," Mr. Nelson's coffee-table-size book offers a startlingly alternative view of familiar historical events, showing how the idea of the "land of the free" didn't extend to African-Americans throughout much of U.S. history.

For example, in the first chapter, he details how African-Americans fought in the American Revolution, then adds: "Through the fruits of our labor and our volunteer soldiers, we had helped free America from England, and yet we were stuck in a country that kept most of us as slaves."

Later, in describing how African-Americans fought for the United States in World War II, Mr. Nelson writes that the story hasn't changed much: "We had gone to war for our country to stop racist people from taking over the world, and yet at home Jim Crow [anti-black laws] held us in his grip just as tightly as before."


First Published 2012-02-27 23:30:55

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